Why do I ask this question? Over the last 15 months I have had too many thoughts about the unfortunate reality of death. What does truly living mean? To me it means living your life as fully as you can until you can no longer. We can try our hardest to stop death and suffering, however we cannot change the nature of existence.
Over the past few weeks I have wondered what the victims of Champlain Towers in North Miami Beach were thinking in the last moments of their lives. It has been reported that many of the victims were in the later stages of their lives, which happens to be an unfortunately grim circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost certainly they had radically altered their lives to purchase just a few more breaths of life. Did they defeat suffering or death?
These poor souls sacrificed seeing their loved ones for fear of dying, they sacrificed a broader social connection in the face of social pressure, and they sacrificed their attention to the media in place of a focus towards God. These sacrifices were made for over a year, and in one instant it was gone.
We should not place such a high value on the mode of death whilst ignoring the way we ought to live. Valuing one risk to the exclusion of all others is a grotesque version of prudence, and forfeiting the vibrancy of life is equally wrong.
In the end, we will never know their thoughts, but in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation…a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways”. Maybe there is more to life than just living for the sake of it. Maybe a life without meaning and purpose is not one worth living at all. Everyone knows what we gave up, and everyone knows what we have suffered. So, after we all just spent the last 15 months sacrificing our quality of life for a future that we only assumed would happen… I ask: was it worth it?