The early hours of the morning greet me in the form of the latest info commercials, playing endlessly on the televisions as I make my rounds throughout the facility. The residents are all asleep, or as close to sleep as they can get. The majority of them are all lost in the vegetative state known as brain death.
Robotic movements take over as I disperse the medication to each patient accordingly. I arrive to the last person, a woman, on my list. As I reach over her my stethoscope lightly drags across the sheets and her eyes open and stare directly into mine.
I am startled for only a moment, and then proceed to finish my task. I stand over her bed and watch as she continues to gaze off into the distance, off to nowhere. The familiar hiss of the nebulizer fades in the background. Her eyes, glazed over and seeming to belong to the dead, look fixedly at the ceiling. Almost as if heaven itself was being revealed in front of her. Does she dream? Does she think? Can she hear me? What would she say if at that moment she could speak? Would she curse God, give thanks, or would she weep?
For a moment I was jealous of her and the apparent peace. No troubles in the world, nothing to worry about. The very act of life itself was lived out for her through the form of tubes placed in every orifice of the disabled body, pumping in nutrients and expelling the waste. A machine kept her breathing. She had to do nothing, was nothing. Just a blank stare, a distant memory to a family hoping and praying for the miracle that was just out of reach. Then I beg forgiveness for the selfish self-pity and realized what great pain this type of life would be. To never laugh, or cry, or love. Simply to have your entire world end in the split of a second.
Where is the justice? For what cause was she maimed like this? These questions revolve round and round my mind. Who am I to be blessed with health, having blasphemed the Savior in almost every single way possible? To run endlessly to darkness and drown myself in the sin that I had surrounded myself with. It should be me laying in that hospital bed, hooked up to all those tubes, gazing into the absolute nothingness of space.
There are so many things I cannot comprehend. My human mind and earthly wisdom will never be enough to understand the workings of the Creator. Why tragedies play out the way that they do. I can now see why without faith existence can seem cruel and unrelenting in its distribution of sorrow. Why we can so easily shake our fists towards the sky and spit on the name of Christ when things that are too difficult for us to make sense of arise.
We must look past the instances of pain and misery and realize that we inhabit a fallen world whose master is death and decay itself. Look past the hopelessness that sits on all sides around us and register that this earth is not our home. This dwelling was never meant to be permanent, and the terrible things that happen here are not forever. They too will pass and overwhelming joy will be the only thing we know when we see the light of Jesus’ face.