Defying death

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 16, 2017 – 12:00am

We are always wishing for redemption stories or outcomes. When someone is sick, we pray they get well. When someone is troubled or depressed, we want them to feel better and live more positive and happy lives. When something is broken, we want it fixed. When something is not right, we want to make it right.

We value wellness, the restoration of things that have gone bad from good. We value continuity and expanded opportunities to partake of the good things in life. And when we already have them, we wish that things do not change. But if they must, it should be in the direction of growth towards greater opportunities that will make our lives even better.

The meaning of the Resurrection is to bring back the good from the side of the bad. In this case, it is to bring the dead back to life and to make them live eternally. That is its promise.

To defeat death is one of mankind’s primordial yearnings. Death, as we have been told, is an inevitability. That’s what history and time have told us, and it has been proven time and again. So far!

In college, I read a paper by a philosopher who dared look at death as a possibility instead of a forgone conclusion. I can no longer remember the writer of the essay but the premise struck me as bold, daring and defiant.

Much scientific, social and medical efforts are being taken in this direction and man’s longevity has improved dramatically in the past 100 years.

It used to be that when I woke up, I thought of the next 24 hours as something that brought me closer to death. But almost every day now, when I wake up, I chuckle because I know that, so far, I have defied death. My being alive proves it! It sounds funny but it is true that I have been successful so far!

This got me thinking that while I am literarily alive and defying death as of now, I must still consider the possibility of dying someday. And yes, I am stubbornly using the word “possibility” and not “inevitability.” Not yet. I will interchange these two words when I start to see that death is imminent.

But whether it happens or not, every person must think of what he wants to leave the world. It is true that every person wants to shape the world in his own image and likeness, for good or for bad. And this is where we go back to where I started in this article.

We must actively create redemption stories and narratives in the way we live our lives. We must bet on values that make redemption stories more possible and be living examples of them.

In this age of extreme polarities, we must side with the good. Our values must defy the culture of death that promotes hunger, sickness, starvation, addiction, anti-people policies that promote extra judicial killings and allow refugees to die at sea while trying to escape persecution and build a new life.

We must fight for truth and goodness that benefits mankind. This suggests a host of things we can do, like comforting the sick, educating the ignorant, feeding the hungry, uplifting the lives of the poor and the wretched, and creating a more inclusive world where everyone can enjoy a great degree of equality, equity and the good life.

We must promote these values so they become an integral part of our existence and the way we understand what it means to be human.

What kind of people must we become then? We must have tolerance, patience and compassion for others, and for ourselves. We must try to continuously create happiness not just for us but for everyone. We must be purposeful so that every day’s effort is valuable and the days we spend are worth living.

Truth, honesty, love, wishing people well and promoting goodwill in our daily transactions will push falsehoods, ill intentions, threats to life, bullying and manipulation into a smaller corner or sphere of influence.

By defying death, we become the light in the darkness, promoting inclusivity, fairness and love. When we make life worth living for us and for everyone, we are living the Resurrection.

Happy Easter!

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