Reflecitons on death

When I was studying abroad in Tanzania last semester death seemed much more real. There are a whole host of things that lower the life expectancy to forty including AIDS and malnutrition that allows disease to be more deadly. While I was in Tanzania I actually two people on the side of the road recently killed by cars on separate occasions. The first was laying face down with his head still on the road as bicycles and people passing by swerved to avoid the body that no longer held life. Cars were used to shield the second body from oncoming traffic, but as I glanced back after passing the barricade I was able to see his lifeless body. Those are images that will never leave me. It is hard to tell if the deaths were accidental or suicide. Either way I have been praying for the families of the people that have been killed and the motorists and struck them. Although I do not know them I shared a strangely personal moment with them at the scene of their death. During the time that I saw the two men dead at the side of the road I was taking Swahili lessons and learned the word kufa means to die and kufaa means to arrive. I think the two words probably started as the same words in their Bantu origin then grew distinct later in time. I think many Tanzanians view death not as an exit but an arrival, a beautiful way of looking at a normally finite topic.

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~ by Steve and Lindsay on January 8, 2009.

One Response to “Reflecitons on death”

  1. Well, I’m surprised to discover that you are still using your blog, I hadn’t checked for a while. I’ll return again to see what other home experiences might ignite your TZ experiences. Yes, death images have a way of imprinting indelibly upon our minds and hearts. I have many but perhaps one of my most vivid happened early in my ministry. I was called to the hospital to minister to one of our faithful members who had just experienced a heart attack. The entire family was gathered in the room around his bed. He always said that he had two and a half dozen kids…2 girls and 6 boys. As I came to the side of his bed prepared to read scripture and pray his immediate response to my presence was…”Be still and know that I am God” Ps. 46:10. That took the words right out of my mouth. I didn’t know whether to continue or not. I decided to simply quote the first 3 verses of the Psalm, “God is our refuge…” conclude with the 10th and then to be silent. He died immediately and his last words were “Be still….” The moment is indelibly imprinted. G/GBofFC

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