In Medias Res…

“Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

These moving words were spoken by Mona Simpson as part of her Eulogy for her Brother, Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs designed, pioneered and invented many products that people use all around the world, the iPad, iPhone and iMac all products from his company, Apple.

Steve found out that he had Cancer in 2003 and although his health obviously deteriorated, to his credit, he still died ‘In the middle of something’.  Some reports say that before his death, he worked hard to help create a product ‘roadmap’ for Apple that will see out the next five years.  No matter what his legacy, it’s still easy to see the tragedy in his passing at the age of 56, a life with much more to give, cut short.

Mona Simpson’s words are very true.  None of us live for the purpose of dying although we all will.  Death may be inevitable, but it isn’t the benchmark or defining moment of our lives.  We don’t see it as our finest hour and even for those who are unwell, it is seldom welcome.

There is an exception to the this though.  In Jesus Christ, we find a man who’s entire purpose was to die. Christianity teaches that the victory of Christ’s death and Resurrection brings hope to all mankind, a hope that while we may pass ‘in medias res’, we only pass on to something new. Something we can’t claim as our own but that is given to anyone who will receive.

Steve Jobs once said that he was 50/50 on whether there was an afterlife or not.  He couldn’t be sure but he wanted to acknowledge that there could be something else.  He pointed out that many of his products don’t have ‘off switches’, they are always ready for us, they go on and on.  He went on to say that his instincts similarly told him that life itself doesn’t have an ‘off switch’ either.

The teachings of Jesus before his death on the cross also point out that although we may be destined to die ‘in medias res’, we are still only partway through a journey which stretches on into eternity.  Steve Jobs died on October 5th, 2011.  According to Mona, his last words as he looked into the distance were “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”.

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