Sunday, June 11, 2006

Role Model In Dying

Malcom is a guy who works in Taiwan. I’m not sure if I’ve personally met Malcom, but we have interacted several times over email. I think we probably don’t see eye-to-eye on some missiological issues, but we have more in common than disagreements.

Malcom is dying. He has cancer and, according to a recent post by his wife, probably doesn’t have long to live. Malcom sent a post today to his friends saying that he is too weak to continue much dialogue and gave a farewell to those who know him.

I’m writing these thoughts about Malcom because he is a bit of a role model to me on how to die. Even though his fate is sealed with an incurable disease, he hasn’t made a big deal about it. Instead of dwelling on the inevitable, he has been trying to carry on with life as usual. I know he is concerned about his families welfare after he’s gone, but the tone of the way he is winding up his days on this earth seems to be one of quite resolve and bit matter-of-fact. That’s what I admire about Malcom’s dying.

I contrast Malcom’s situation with others I have known which have faced the expected. Their letters, unlike Malcom’s, is a weekly medical update and prayer for deliverance, that God will miraculously intervene. Malcom has also asked that people pray for him, but more for grace as he nears his end as well as for those who he will leave behind.

I have no idea how I would react if I was told I had cancer and may or may not live for another year. But as a Christian, who claims that my hope is in Christ and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, I should see death as a spectacular transition to the fulfillment of my purpose of existence. I would like to think I would seek all the medical help possible, as I don’t think we are to foolishly hasten our own demise. But when it becomes crystal clear that my days are few, I hope that, as much as my ailing body will allow, I will carry on with life as usual until I can’t wake up.

Thanks, Malcom, for a great example on how to die. We will see you soon.