Thursday, April 26, 2007

Are You Dead or Alive?

A 30-year-old man in Mater Hospital in Dublin, Ireland was mistakenly pronounced dead. According to the Irish Times the patient was subsequently found to be alive when mortuary personnel came to collect his body from his hospital bed.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, had already had his family notified of his passing and they had already begun to grieve when they were notified of the hospital’s error.

If you were closely examined would you be declared “dead” or “alive”?

Obviously in my reflection I’m taking the conversation to another level. I’m sure if you are reading this post you’re breathing and have the necessary vital signs. You probably get up, drive in the commute, go to work, come home, go to bed and do the same thing all over again the next day. But, are you alive?

I’m suggesting that there is a very real difference between existence (necessary vital signs of respiration and pulse) and life. By the latter I’m referring to a capacity to love deeply, to sacrifice and bless others, to be moved by beauty and stirred by great thinking and conversation. Is there a purpose for which you get up in the morning? Is time spent in a way that matters in eternity? When you do die will there be significant grief because of a great sense of loss to no longer have your presence in the lives of others?

In the ancient book of psalms the writer prays to the Lord, “Teach me to number my days.” (Psalm 90:12) That’s not a request to be able to count one’s days, but to make one’s days count. The Psalmist knew that one doesn’t really experience life without a meaningful relationship with the One who gives life.

No comments: