Samantha was a good friend but like everybody else I had ever known in life including myself she was a victim in one form or the other. In her most recent exploits she had anointed me with the surname, ‘you do not understand’. I do not know of anyone in this lifetime, who at some point in their lives, has not been addressed by this phrase, it was a banshee cry for saying: ‘I am who I am and no one can tell me different because only I know what it feels like to experience what I am going through.’ It came as no surprise to me now that Samantha was giving me the rundown of why I did not understand. She had problems with relations, extended family, apparently they were suffocating her, pushing her to the limit at which point she felt as though a knife was piercing through parts of her abdomen. How many times anyone had heard this lyric was subject to speculation, however there was a delicate balance to tread when providing your shoulder as a pillar of strength as it was your duty to be consoling, patient and agreeable while it was expected of you to tell the truth about what you felt.
I listened to her relate her experience to me with an inward defiance. It was a tough call to make on my part for man had a habit of sinking deeply into his own conceit. When we did so we wanted to be right and in that case we fed like addicts on the concern and sympathy that was provided by our friends and family. When she quoted the words: ‘you do not understand’, as I pleaded with her that it was normal for there to be problems in the family, it dawned on me that we were in for a long day.
‘This thing could make me die. It makes me feel as though the world is swallowing me up and I just need a means of escape from it. Soon you would hear that I am dead!’ She said agitatedly.
As I listened to her, I wondered why we all chose to use death as blackmail to seek sympathy from others. Death had obviously been given a status of its own. The use of death meant that the listener should be scared, pushed into a corner of thought to contemplate the severity of the problem. The answer I followed with took her by surprise.
‘Death comes to us all. If this situation makes you go ahead of us then prepare a path for us to follow. I hear it is easier in death than in life.’ I responded watching her carefully.
‘Are you saying that you would not mourn my death? Are you saying you do not care?’ she enquired almost accusingly.
‘What do you want me to say? When you are dead how can you know what I would be feeling? The dead do not care for they are dead so why are you bothered. Besides I cannot answer your question until you are dead. It is hard to tell you what I would be feeling when you are still alive and well.’ I responded.
‘You are cold. What kind of a friend would say that?’ She retorted. ‘You of all people should know what it feels like, yet you say a thing like that.’ She continued.
‘You know death is over valued for its fear and the pain it causes to us, but the truth remains that when we die we are made stronger and immortal. Your body is made spiritual, invisible and capable of soaring to heights that no man has been before. If you take these facts into consideration then you would understand why it is hard for me to worry about your death.’ I explained to her.
‘How do you know all this? Have you died before? Are you not going to miss your family and friends when you die? It would be the end of you and then you won’t have a life again.’ She pointed out.
‘You make a credible case only it misses many other issues. For instance when you are spiritual and die you need no one but the Lord. Secondly I do not have to have died before to appreciate death. I just know this by believing that I have been reborn in the spirit and who was born in the physical sense is now dead. Finally the spirit doesn’t miss anyone as in death it has a higher power to answer to. I don’t think I would be missing my family when I am dead but rather my family would be missing me.’ I further explained.
‘That is interesting.’ She said. ‘So you are saying that death is not the worst thing that could happen to me? If I die in a car crash or even through suffering I would not end up loosing in life?’ She asked.
It looked like we were getting somewhere and I knew that I had to make the most of it. ‘I am not saying that you should wish for death but what I am saying is do not be afraid of it. In death you become a spirit and are free from the tribulations of this earth. Our spirits belong to God and it is the Lord’s decision whether or not we enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ I told her.
‘Okay about my problem, it is still difficult to deal with and since I am now not afraid of death it doesn’t mean that it has gone away it just means that it is here to stay for the length of my life.’ She remarked.
‘You make a valid point. However since you know that death is not the end of all things then you are free to decide today how you go about dealing with these problems. They can be a burden to your life or not. You can tackle them head on regardless of what anyone might say. Or you can simply accept them as part of life, moving on to another day and hoping that things get better. Whatever you choose makes no difference as you cannot die unless the Lord says it is your time.’ I explained.
‘Then would you say I was over reacting?’ She asked.
‘Of course not! This is what I was trying to explain to you from the start that I too have been in your situation and felt as though my life was coming to an end but I am still here today aren’t I?’ I responded.
‘Then you do understand what I am going through? It is strange how life can unfold before ones eyes.’ She continued now puzzled in her own thoughts. This time I listened and let her talk freely about herself and her life delving into the trials and tribulations that everyone in the world knows about. I was happy in myself that by helping her I too had learned something from our conversation. The Lord had given us others, some weaker than ourselves to strengthen our own spirits by helping them. In other words by loving our neighbor as ourselves we were strengthening our own spiritual existence. I had practiced a theory I believed in on a good friend and it had produced amazing results.