Resurrection is about life over death
Some days back I went to Tralee to pay my respects to a former work colleague who had died.
Indeed, he died too young and was the kindest of men. During my years working with him he was always kind to me. It was difficult to accept that he was dead. Dead at 61.
Maybe I have reached an age that makes me look around and observe 'older' people, people shuffling about, people having difficulty doing the simplest of things. How fragile we all are. Those who are healthy and well take it all for granted.
Last week when the death of the Northern Ireland prison officer Adrian Ismay was announced I felt a great sense of horror. What must it be like for his wife and children, for all his family and friends? And all for what? Simple savagery. What is it about human beings that we have the potential to do such heinous acts?
We see it on our television screens every evening-people being killed and brutalised almost in every corner of the world. Watching the barbarity from our homes it can easily become 'entertainment'. A shocking thing to say but true. There is no limit to the savagery that people inflict on their fellow human beings.
But away from all the badness and madness, there is the 'everyday' suffering and pain to which we are all prone. Some avoid it, some don't. Yes, it's wise and clever to look after ourselves, to live a healthy lifestyle. But even when we do everything according to the book there is no guarantee that we will not be struck down in some way or other. Is it all a lottery? And there is always the question, why? Does anything about our pain and suffering make sense? I don't know.
I know a little boy who is wheelchair-bound. A neighbour of mine, just a few years older than I, had his foot amputated as a result of diabetes. Last week I found myself beside a man in a wheelchair. One of his legs was missing. For a few seconds I did not know where to look and then suddenly I felt a sense of revulsion, immediately followed by a terrible sense of guilt. How dare I react in such a way to a man who has had the misfortune to have lost a leg.
These last few days I have been listening to a talented man who, through his abuse of alcohol, is destroying his life and that of his family. Then there is the middle-aged man with chronic back pain. Would one dare suggest it is the will of God or advise people to offer up their pain? I certainly would not do that in a thousand years.
Some weeks ago I called on an old man who is totally blind. We exchanged a few words. I have been back to see him a number of times since. And every time, I have been flabbergasted by his good humour and smile.
Of course we should all do our damnedest to avoid pain and suffering. It is a plague to be avoided. Yet I never cease to be amazed when I meet people who experience terrible suffering and how they seem to bear their pain with great dignity.
Surely it's unwise to dismiss how fragile we are, but always making sure to take good care of those who have been laid low. It's the mark of a kind person. It also says much about society. This is Holy Week. Sunday is Easter Sunday. Resurrection is about life over death.