I lived in New Zealand for about ten years (not that anyone’s interested), so I enjoyed talking to Kate and getting to know her for the short period of time our paths crossed. She was a Maori from New Zealand, living in Melbourne by herself.

Her terminal stage lymphoma wasn’t responding well to treatment though, and she was growing weaker by the day. Her whanau was keen to fly her back to the country to spend her last remaining days. Everything happened so quick, and that morning I made the executive decision to stop her treatment and let her fly home the following day. Not a single day to waste.

The radiation therapists came to get me when her protective elder sister was about to take her home that morning. She was in a wheelchair, so I knelt down beside her and held her hand. I knew I wouldn’t see her again.

“All the very best, Kate,” I said with a pause, “I have really enjoyed knowing you and looking after you.”

It is a year ago now, but I remember the tired smile she gave me. “You too, Joseph, and all the best for your future.”

I almost teared up. Oh I wish you had a future too.

After they left, one of the radiotherapy nurses sighed, “We’ve had a wave of sad events happening to young people recently haven’t we…, just before the Easter season too, when family get together…”

She is right, but thinking about it, Easter is not really about family though. Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus — for our forgiveness, and for a new start, if we believe in him. And through his resurrection, we have a living hope that one day God will also make everything anew, when there will be no more suffering, no more tears and no more regrets.

Would you think about it? It didn’t strike me very hard before, but even as I start to relate a little more to the suffering of the people around me, I know only the tiniest amount of the suffering in this world — yet this hope has become so much more heartfelt to me, and I find my insides yearning for it in this broken world.

Join a church service this Easter weekend, and learn a little more about what Easter celebrates. About what Jesus said about himself and what he did on the Cross, and why that matters.

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