Why the least fit don’t survive

By Ngor Khot Garang

In the race against the world, to win your space and make the most of life, you also have to be so sure of the fact that the race to the grave is the hardest one. We don’t have an idea who gets there faster and who wins, of course, in this race, there is no winner. We are all losers, food of organisms, maggots. There are people who have reached the pinnacle of success and sadly, their success and money sits helpless in the face of world’s equalizer, death.

There is no wait or I am still young, it doesn’t matter, everyday should be a thanksgiving to mankind, especially those who are still alive. Sometimes before you count your little earnings, you have to think beyond yourself. Maybe you need more of this and failure to do that will rob you of your happiness.

No wonder, humans will never be satisfied in life. Let it be this way, you have something small and you want something at least bigger and then your heart begins to crave for the better one. In the process, there is no happiness. It doesn’t end here, it is a chase that ends at nothing. This life sucks and it gets worse when you compare yours with that of your friend. How could you? Sometimes what looks good to you is not good to me and what is bad to me could be good to you. People have their secrets battles that they don’t bring to public.

You never know the person you compare yourself with could be secretly looking at you with admiration. A lot of life is never easy to understand. Karma has failed to solve that part of life. Who knows what tomorrow holds?  Maybe Jesus cannot answer that question. Sometimes you can forget your phone in the house and when you get back to look for it, you get bitten by the snake. The other day, you missed the bus and the news, the bus has just overturn and all on board did not make it. The same things happen in life.

Don’t be quick to make conclusion, even someone you left behind may end up running faster than you. It is not always the end of the world when it is not working. Sometimes you can work your whole life off with hope that it will be alright, then that time comes with tears to wipe. I have seen people who worked very hard and never live to enjoy their sweat. I am sorry but sweat may sometimes turn into blood. If you have ever read the book “When Breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi, you will get the point clear.

It is a memoir of this neurosurgeon who at the peak of his career realizes he has lung cancer and he is torn apart. He had spent all his life diagnosing other people, pronouncing some dead. Now for the first time he faces his own death. And he faces it at this point when everything should be making sense and converging. 

Kalanithi enters his neurosurgery residency and thrives through the programs. Months before his graduation as a Professor, he finds out he has cancer. For the first time in his life he faces life as a patient having faced it before as a doctor, diagnosing, treating, performing surgeries, breaking bad news and giving hope. Now he steps into the shoes of the many patients he had handled.

What do you make out of life at the pinnacle of your career when you receive this kind of news? This is the question you should be asking yourself when you are going through some challenging times.

At first his cancer therapy worked, the brain tumors seemed cleared. He even returns to hospital and works hard, saving more lives. Then it returns, this time worse than before. He goes for chemotherapy and it almost kills him much faster. He then learns that death may be a one-time event but living with a terminal illness is a process. He decides to finally have a child with his wife as he goes through those five stages of grief. Sometimes it is anger, sometimes depression, sometimes acceptance.

He learns to live by learning to die. Kalanithi realizes that the way out is to face his mortality and understand what makes life worth living. Yet he is brutally honest, he speaks of these flashes of anger where he is angry at God; “I work my whole life to get to this point then you give me cancer!”

For the first time, he also awakens to the limitations of science. He notes that no system of thought can contain the fullness of human experience. Science for example is unable to grasp the most central aspects of human life; hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering and virtue.

Kalanithi asks everyone to embrace the struggle towards truth while recognizing that the task is impossible. “You can’t ever reach perfection but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

That we are in an urgent race against time, having important things to say and do and we ought to do them with such honesty and authenticity. When Breath Becomes Air is that realization that maybe we spend half of our lives living, the next half reflecting. And that the meaning of life is to be able to look back and count it all joy, the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the smooth and the rough, the sweet and sour. And be glad that you had a chance to live before you died. For therein is the meaning of this life.

The book is about hope, patience and the willingness to move forward even in the face of daunting challenges. The message is relevant in today’s world. There are many of us who are going through the same challenges. 

It could be sickness, poverty or any life altering ailment. It is through these problems that we realize we need to live before we die. I know and it is true that life hurts but it wasn’t our choice, we need to live every moment with hope that it will be alright in the long run.

“Time for me is double-edged: Every day brings me further from the low of my last cancer relapse, but every day also brings me closer to the next cancer recurrence — and eventually, death. Perhaps later than I think, but certainly sooner than I desire.

There are, I imagine, two responses to that realization. The most obvious might be an impulse to frantic activity: to “live life to its fullest,” to travel, to dine, to achieve a host of neglected ambitions. Part of the cruelty of cancer, though, is not only that it limits your time, it also limits your energy, vastly reducing the amount you can squeeze into a day. It is a tired hare who now races. But even if I had the energy, I prefer a more tortoise like approach. I plod, I ponder, some days I simply persist”

This was very true of him. This life is very painful and we will never understand even for one reason why things change their faces. There is no doubt, most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past.

The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed. But the best of all is to give your best even when death stares you in the face. To love, give and stand up for someone when you still can is what counts most in this life, after all, it is just vanity.

Comments are closed.