I have put off writing this blog post for some time now, because I felt it would be almost insensitive of me to appear to minimize the magnitude of losing loved ones because of sickness. And now, with so many among my family and dear friends and acquaintances having tested positive for COVID-19, some hospitalized, some almost dying (and who knows the real long-term health impact for those who survived), I find this post even more challenging, because the message I’m relaying from the early Christian bishop St. Cyprian about how he viewed mortality in light of a pandemic occurring during his own time (around 246-262 AD) presents such a lofty standard that it seems overly difficult to sincerely agree. It goes something like this (paraphrased below):
Are you, or your family, or beloved friends, affected by this pandemic, anxious about death—worried you or they may die because of it? If you are a genuinely faithful Christian, you should eagerly welcome death, for you, and them, because that is our ticket out of this life, to journey on to the much preferred life hereafter.
It is easier to write, but so much harder to apply. Your mom, your friend of 30 years, whomever—imagine them in the hospital, intubated, grasping for air, suffering with tears—you are supposed to look forward to letting them go? Not just let them go–you should wish you could be there alongside with them and leave this life too?