Saturday, July 28, 2007

Living in danger

"The beautiful thing about it is that she died doing something she loved to do, in a place she loved to be." This is an actual quote from a newspaper article about a young woman who died from a black bear attack while she was mountain biking alone in the wilderness, and is an often heard rationale these days; one that probably is comforting to family members in their time of grief. To people who are involved in extreme sports that are life threatening acts of adrenaline-pumping danger, there is nothing more thrilling than beating the odds one more time and coming out of it unscathed. But too often the mentality that accompanies the sport is one that places thrills and excitement above any thought of the eternal state of the soul after death. How much more comforting it would be to know that she died in the grace of God, with her soul spiritually prepared for its final destination!

The body is the tabernacle of the soul, and we are bound by the fifth commandment to properly care for our own spiritual and physical well being. Does that mean that we can't have any fun? No, but we should guard against taking unnecessary risks that place our lives in danger, and we should always take care to keep our souls ever ready for judgment, that we may say, with St. Paul; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. For the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the Just Judge, will give to me in that day." (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

1 comment:

Adoro te Devote said...

I agree there are times to apply that quote...and times that this quote reinforces a loss of the dignity of life and our obligation to preserve it.

When I was a Ski Patroller, I arrived one Friday evening for a shift I was picking up, to learn that during the day, a man had died. He had been skiing with his wife, and while waiting at the lift closest to the chalet, he collapsed.

He was blessed that day; we are volunteers, and that day, the only paramedic we had was there for it was his regular shift. And the Area was equipped with an AED, which was quickly obtained.

All the available patrollers were seasoned, and did their best, although for most of them it was their first time doing CPR. We have the most experience in splinting damaged limbs; Heart attacks? Not so much.

He was sent away in a screaming ambulance, CPR still underway, and was not revived.

His wife later wrote a letter to the Patrol; even out of her grief, she realized how stricken the volunteers who tried to help her husband were.

She told them that her husband had been an avid skier for his entire life, that she knew they did all they could, and, then, brought in that famous quote: "He died doing what he loved."

She was comforted by that, and the fact that help was there immediately. I suspect the story would have been different if he'd been at the top of the hill and not the bottom; they would not have been able to get there so quickly.

It is a quote that can be used to comfort in the right context, but even those who are comforted by it would not always be so if certain circumstances were not in place.

I suspect that this line was far more healing to those who worked to try to save his life than it was to her.