One of our first year students has been off this last week. His brother, a police officer, was murdered as he chased away intruders to his home. Another student, a second year, returned to Fiwale yesterday after burying his granddaughter.
I don’t really know how to write about this.
From my western perspective, the returning students did not seem to be grieving. I’m sure part of it is that Zambians grieve differently to Westerners. But I suspect there is also a familiarity with death in this culture that anaesthetises people to the sanctity of life. At the other end of the spectrum, maybe my culture has made such an idol out of life on this earth that we cling to it obsessively.
I was reminded today that one of Jonathan Edward’s resolutions was to ‘to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.’ Reading that today seems quite disturbing and depressive, and I’m not entirely sure what the purpose would be. Certainly, to think often of the brevity of life brings about a profound shift in our perspective on life.
I’m grateful for the reminder around me here that life is fleeting, to make the most of everyday to honour Christ. But I also pray that we won’t become desensitised to the astonishing value that God places upon every single human life.
Can I also ask you to pray for our students and their families? Even now, some of the students have children with some serious illnesses. These dear children are uniquely known and loved by a heavenly Father who counts the hairs on their heads.