Before I die, I want to travel the world. Learn to play the piano. Race down the Autobahn at 200km/h. I could go on and on. And then it hits me. I’m running out of time. I’m at the point in my life where the years before me are fewer than the years behind me.
Where did my time go?
Before I joined the team at The Garden of Remembrance, death was a concept I put off thinking about as it was unpleasant to contemplate. Being Chinese also means that open conversations about death and dying are taboo; we avoid thinking or talking about death unless it is absolutely necessary.
Is there any thought scarier than death?
My time with The Garden of Remembrance has re-shaped my perspective on death. I have come to understand the truth of the cliché “a person is not ready to live until he is ready to die”. Coming into contact with death daily has made me realise that it is not just a concept—death is real, inescapable and certain. The only uncertainty is exactly when it will occur.
But as Christians, we can take comfort in the fact that death has no power over us. God sent his only begotten Son to die for our sins and Christ defeated death when He rose from the dead. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26). His death gives us eternal life and a place by His side. We can contemplate death but ultimately rest in Hope.
For the Christian, to die is gain. Death frees us from earthly labours, trials and temptations. Death in itself is emancipation from the bondage of death. “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).
While holding fast to this belief, there is no denying that death, like a thief in the night, will rob us of our loved ones. We will hurt and we will grieve, but we can also rest in the hope of His promise of eternal life.
And because of this promise, Christians would seem better equipped to cope with the loss of loved ones who believe in Jesus. We know that they are safe in the loving arms of our Father in heaven.
With the assurance of eternal life and a place at God’s side, my perspective of what I want to accomplish with my remaining years has changed too. I want to spend the rest of my days getting to know Him intimately, seeking more of His presence, discovering what His plans for me on earth are and carrying them out to the very best of my ability.
What about you? What do you want to do?
Wendy Heng is currently serving as General Manager at The Garden of Remembrance—a Christian columbarium owned by The Methodist Church in Singapore. When she is not evangelising about the importance of pre-planning and helping grieving families in their time of need, she enjoys cooking, running before sunrise and is always up for a good laugh.
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