1. 導言:

哲學家彼得基夫 (Peter Kreeft) 在他的一本有關死亡的著作裡面說:「為甚麼我要寫死亡?因為我有不治之症?可是,讀者啊!不單止我有,你也有!生命總有終結之日!(Life is fatal)。」古語說:「未知生,焉知死?」也許透過基夫的反省,我們可把上述語句略作修改,透過認識死亡,我們可以更了解生命的本質。問題是:現代人對死亡缺乏認識,甚至因著面對死亡而恐懼,我們對死這會事,視而不見,聽而不聞!若此,死味和孤獨,如影隨形的成了孖生兄弟。晚期癌症患者總是找不到一個與之暢談死前掙扎的人。今日孤單的是別人,他日極有可能孤單的是你和我!詩人 Terry Kettering 曾經以一首詩「病房中有隻大象」來描寫人面對死亡的孤單無助感。茲敬錄如下:

The Elephant in the Room

By Terry Kettering

There's an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
But we do not talk about the elephant
Yet we squeeze by with, "How are you?"
And, "I'm fine" ...in the room.
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything else -
death, except the elephant in the room.

There's an elephant in the room,
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
It is constantly on our minds.

For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all.
Oh, please, say her name.
Oh, please, say "Barbara" again.
Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about her,
Perhaps we can talk about her life.
Can I say "Barbara" to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me Alone ...
In a room ...With an elephant.

公元635年敘利亞景教徒來華介紹其信仰時,便以「三常之門,開生滅死」來形容基督信仰(見〈大秦景教流行中國碑〉)。「三常」就是信、望、愛,我深信基督信仰是充充沛沛的幫助人去克服死亡恐懼,使人盡得以直教生死兩相安!

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