In recent months, the news reported a number of unexpected deaths. In Singapore, two children under 12 passed away from complications due to Covid-19. Several cases of fires in HDB flats resulted in loss of lives and homes. A friend recounted to me how her husband had just lost his close friend, a 45-year-old triathlete, to a heart attack during a routine run. These incidents made me wonder whether the deceased would have chosen to live their lives any differently if they had known what would eventually happen to them. Then, a few weeks ago, it was my turn to get a health scare.
I experienced some chest discomfort at work on a Thursday, coupled with cold sweat and slight numbness in my left arm. These symptoms lessened after a while and I carried on working, thinking that I just needed more rest that night. After work, I went home and slept for 11 hours till the next day, but the discomfort persisted. I then decided to seek medical attention. The “chest discomfort” turned out to be a heart attack which had to be resolved by angioplasty. When the doctor told me I had a 100% block in one of my arteries, I was taken aback. Yes, I would admit that my diet was not super healthy, but neither was it extremely unhealthy. My health indicators were quite typical of an average person in his early 40s, so the severe blockage was totally unexpected. Looking back, it was really God’s mercy that kept me alive from Thursday late morning till Friday evening, when I finally got the medical help I needed. Thanks be to God!
While I was resting in the hospital, a brother commented that it was a good time to “take stock” of my life: To reflect on what was important and what changes I would make in my life henceforth. It was then that I remembered a chorus I used to sing in my youth, titled “Do You Ever Search Your Heart”.
Life (and death) can be unexpected. Life-changing circumstances can be unexpected. But no matter what happens, God’s love for us remains the same. No matter what happens, we can choose to praise His Name in all circumstances, and serve Him and His Church in whatever capacity He allows us to. I pray for every one of us, myself included, that we will continue to journey in faith, loving God and serving Him wholeheartedly. I pray that when that day comes, we can all say, “I have done my best, Lord; I have no regrets”.
By brother Simon Koh