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  • Writer's pictureRyder Lyne

2021-11-16 I disagree life is a gift not a trial

I Disagree: Life is A Gift, Not a Trial

November 16, 2021

My initial impulse was to slap the speaker, but restraining myself, I nodded politely. Unknown to this kind man of many years’ acquaintance, another close friend of mine had passed away too young. Not from Covid. But the politics of Covid had restricted our past months of friendship and now dictated the terms of our mourning. 

So when my friend offered feeble excuses for refusing the vaccine, I attempted a smile while invisibly rolling my eyes. I was too tired to persuade him of the insanity of his thinking. And then, as a good born-again Christian, he said the words that boil my blood: I’m okay with dying since I know where I am going. 

My thoughts went to the families of our friends who have passed away. All of whom would cherish more time on earth with their loved ones. I said my goodbyes to my friend and walked away. 

I am not a theologian, but I am Christian. The mainstream Protestant denominations of which I have been a part have all moved away from preaching that the reward of life on earth is eternity with God. The message I hear now is that life as a gift. Teachings point us toward living with compassion, kindness, and generosity. One can assert a belief in the afterlife, but honestly, there is no way we can know. We know the present with enough challenges for a lifetime.  

[I didn’t want to put this in, but at this point believers will say that eternal life is real because the Bible says so. There are entire libraries devoted to this argument. I can’t comment here.]

I sit in my shed, vibrant colors of my yard blessing me. I am not a theologian, nor am I a scientist. But I have read enough to be astounded that this planet with its abundant life exists at all. As a child doesn’t need to understand the intricacies of fetal formation and birth to play and laugh, I don’t need to understand the hows and whys of geographical and anthropological development to value earthly existence. 

I don’t want to hear about the rewards of eternal life. I want to see people value all life, human and otherwise. Jesus showed us how to live. He just happened to lose his life by doing so. 

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