“Are you afraid to die?” one of the attackers asked.
The nun said no, then he said: “Why?”
“I believe in God, and I know I will be happy” Sister Helene said, as she quietly prayed to herself.
Then they started talking about God.
“Jesus cannot be God and a man. It is you who are wrong,” one of the men said.
“Maybe, but too bad,” Sister Huguette replied.
At that moment, she prepared for her own death, not knowing what was coming next.
“Thinking I was going to die, I offered my life to God” she added.
Nun at Rouen terrorist attack
Maybe, but too bad.
When I read the above dialogue between the nun in France and the wackjob who was intent on killing people in the name of his religion … I paused.
Not because of her faith <which is admirable> but because of her “maybe, but too bad” response.
I don’t think about dying often … if at all.
And I am fairly sure if I were I would be comfortable accepting the chips however they were to fall as long as I maintained my sense of self and beliefs and what I believed.
To say “maybe, but too bad” in the face of my potential executioner … in the face of death itself?
Now that, my friends, is the response of one who is truly comfortable with their life, their sense of self and their beliefs.
I have never been close to dying <excepting maybe a couple of incredibly stupid young adult moments which were glimpses to mortality>therefore I have no clue how I will act faced with death.
I am relatively sure none of know for sure how we will act.
I tend to believe we know how we WANT to act.
But when in the then & there?
Who the hell knows.
I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination. And I believe this woman would have faced death with this awesome combination of dignity and ‘spunk’ regardless of whether she was a nun or not.
Why do I say that?
There are moments in our Life where all we have is our character. We are naked to the world and all we wear is what resides inside.
Dignity does not come from our faith.
‘Spunk’ does not come from our faith.
Those are characteristics of that which we are – our character.
Please know I am not diminishing this woman’s faith in God. I am simply sharing my thoughts as a non-religious person who sat back and wondered if I would have had the dignity and spunk to face death as she did.
I could argue this nun represented the best version of what we could be stripped of the ambitions, goals and dreams which Life seems to demand each one of achieve.
She stands for a naked purpose driven Life … stripped of the silly things Life in today’s world clothes ‘purpose’ in.
And maybe that is where character truly resides … in whatever sense of purpose, and the strength of that purpose, which resides within each and every one of us.
We all know we will die one day.
And while we stress out over the crisis du jour of the day … and struggle through the inevitable moments in the present which make up everyday life … in any given moment I am relatively sure everyone one of us seeks to find something bigger within.
The purpose driven character which beats within.
And I don’t think we do this in preparation for death.
I assume some subconscious part of us hopes that whatever the purpose driven character we may actually have will be there to stand by us, to maybe hold us up and enable us to hold our head up high to look death squarely in the face with dignity.
All I know is that while I certainly hope whatever I may have inside will show up that day and help me face death what I really want is for that part of me to not only be there … but to be strong enough so that if death asks me a question … well … I will shrug and say “maybe, but too bad.”
“I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”