Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reflection on Life

A reflection on life is inspired by a related topic in the recent Madison Times written by Alex Gee. This contribution is also a result of a continuous reflection following the many recent deaths and events that have occurred, and continue to occur, in our community.  There must be a lesson that we are supposed to learn.  God is the teacher.  What is He teaching us? “Get a life insurance, prepare a will and live happily with one another, (for you know not when the hour will come.” At the passing of each loved one (young or old) we write well-worded reflections and narrations of the good old days.  We also share memorable photos of the dead – photos taken alone and with family and friends.
In every culture and as believers, we understand that death is inevitable. Death is sure to follow birth at a time best known only by our Creator. Death is one of the equal opportunity award in our world. In some cases, a terminal illness, discovered early, is a prelude to death with an opportunity for anticipation and maybe preparation. In other cases death is sudden or accidental. Regardless of when or how it comes, family and friends are never prepared when the time comes. When death occurs, we wail and cry and take time off from our busy schedules, buy trip tickets, and share old memories of the good old days.

These are appropriate things to do in times of sorrow but one wonders what would happen if we were to share good memories of friends and relatives with others regularly? How would you feel if relatives wrote and shared memories with each other often? What would it mean to our family and friends to get regular notes or phone calls more often? And how wonderful would it be for us to extend the traditional social values of visiting with friends and relatives occasionally?
The problem with us is that though we know that life is fleeting and that every person we love will surely take that eternal trip, we are not wise enough to slow down, call, write, visit, hug, or photograph more regularly. We have not learned our lesson, and we may not be cherishing each moment as a precious, irreplaceable gift.  We are usually working harder and longer and cannot slow down.  We hear the excuse that “I am too busy” more often than we should.

Our tight schedule and heavy workload robs us of our humanity. Our humanity ought to remind us of our mortality. Our mortality should equally shape our actions, motives, and temper our desire for material wealth.  Life is too short but we have ample opportunities to give and receive love before we regret. Airline tickets for funerals are just as expensive as tickets to reunions, graduations, or simple occasional visits. God is a great teacher.  Let us learn and live peacefully.


  1. Mary Zierold HolcombJune 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Thank you John for sharing this, and for your love, support, and wise words. God will use the untimely death of my son to His glory, as He has promised. I pray that Chris's bodily death will lead to eternal spiritual life for others through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1. Your wisdom reminds us that life is a journey worth savoring every step.

    2. Hi John what u wrote is beautiful and very true. I pledge to remember that what is important is family and friends, I pledge this is chris's memory

  2. John,
    Your reminder to us that it is "the journey" and not "the destination" that matters as we all live our dash. One student, after sitting through a presentation I gave on the determinants of health, called me the "Health Preacher" and though I was somewhat disappointed I also took the time to reflect.Am I the preacher that does not really teach or lead, or am I the lead by example and deed?
    Each time I am given another opportunity to reexamine my personal choices, it seems that I also get the opportunity to shrink or grow.

    I hope for all of us, we take these past unfortunate events and look at them as opportunities to grow.

  3. Thank you all for reading and commenting on this reflection. I posted it initially for a group of Cameroonians that I advise abroad called (Lebialem Cultural and Development Association) LECA-USA. They group like our School of Education program has suffered the lost of about 5 members recently. I have not said anything new in the reflection except for remind every reader that life is a journey. We must learn to go through that journey cheerfully and peacefully.