St. Augustine said, “It is only in the face of death that man’s self is born.”
Over the last few years, the world faced the fear of death in a way that has resulted in a complete transformation of how we view life.
The viral outbreak of COVID-19, the illegal use of substances such as fentanyl, international tension and the armed conflict in Ukraine, and many other ongoing cases of social and political unrest are leading to the loss of life in this world. Death follows life at every step.
Over the last few years, I have met many people who mourned the loss of a loved one. Some lives were claimed by COVID-19, and some by other illnesses, accidents, or old age complications. Each death leaves behind many hearts full of sorrow. Death teaches us that life is, in fact, a fleeting gift suspended in space and time.
Following the words of St. Augustine, I believe that the losses and pain that we face teach us the true value of our self. We have finally come to realize the true priorities in life. We now understand the life is all about kindness, empathy, and love.
I still remember watching, on television, the images of people in hospitals in places across the world, desperately in need of oxygen as they battled COVID-19. The beds were full, medical services were scarce, and cries of agony were widespread. Many senior citizens suffered in isolation and passed away. Many children lost their parents.
Wars and humanitarian crises are ongoing. Our fellow human beings are being pushed away from their homes, and many are fleeing their neighborhoods and cities in search of safer communities. People are losing their lives in the process.
The flood of illegal drugs continues to hurt innocent people. Families are losing their loved ones because of drug overdoses.
And then, there are economic woes. Even to this day, people are suffering because of rising prices of essential goods and services. Families are struggling to afford food and medicine to sustain their lives.
As our collective suffering continues, we have come to realize the importance of being there for each other – to heal each other’s wounds, to share joy and happiness, and to care for each other in every way possible.
Death has taken away a lot from us, but it has also taught mankind the value of time. We must, in the finite time that we have on earth, act with kindness, nurture empathy, and love one another. While we may have individual lives, we also have a collective destiny. With the time that God has granted us, we must try to make this world a better place for all.