A few weeks ago, I got a phonecall from mum.
It’s the sort of phonecall you never want to receive.
“Popo (that’s grandma in Mandarin)’s being rushed to hospital. It’s urgent,” she said.
“Do you want me to come home?” I asked, with barely a quiver in my voice.
“Not yet, I’ll keep you updated.” With that, the conversation ended.
I react really poorly to life/death situations. If no action is required (in this instance, I didn’t need to book flights or pack a luggage), I am rendered useless for the day, playing out the worst case scenarios in my head.
Death, to me, is not natural. Everyone succumbs to an eventual death at the end of their lives, but death somehow feels wrong. Like we were not meant to experience it, but still need to anyway.
Easter is a big deal in Australia, but not so in Singapore. Growing up, Good Friday meant heading to church bearing a candle, though that act was of little significance to me as a child. Easter Sunday would just be like any regular Sunday, unless my mum made a special effort to go to church – then it would involve getting up early, putting on a scratchy dress, and listening to a bearded man in a white robe talking about the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross.
Why is death important?
Because it is a reminder to celebrate life.
Death challenges us in so many ways. We cry, mourn, dig deep into our souls and discover regrets, words, and memories we never considered prior. We are changed, for better or worse, when someone in our lives graduates from this life to the next.
It could be life’s most peculiar irony – remembering to live because of death.
Whether or not you believe in the existence of God or Jesus Christ, what does death mean to you? Does it push you towards something greater? Does it challenge you to want to change?
Fastforward three weeks and, thank God, Popo is out of the hospital. The urge to get on a plane back to Singapore never left me during those 21 days. Even after I found out her condition wasn’t life threatening, I just wanted to be by her side.
The only comfort I had was that even if – and it was a very minor if – I didn’t get to see her again in this life, I can hope to see her in the next. Where there is no suffering, pain, or death.
This Easter, I am reminded that in Jesus’ death, I need to be mindful of what I hold dear in this life.
Am I holding onto the very things that will bear no significance in years to come?
Am I showing my loved ones that I love them, in spite of distance and time?
Am I challenged to become better, to progress, to move towards something greater than myself?
What am I investing this life into?
#crossequalslove. It’s a cool hashtag. It makes for a great visual.
More than that, the Cross is a reminder that life on earth is transient – even for arguably the most famous man that walked this earth. That we can choose to look beyond ourselves, and know there is hope even in death. That we need to create margins in life for the all-important things. That Love begins as a messy, difficult, almost impossible situation, but triumphs in the darkest of times.
Happy Easter, everyone. Have a wonderful break :) x