Flatliners

Hey kids,

This movie kinda sucks, and you’ll forget about it the moment it’s over, but I wanted to take this moment to talk to you a little bit about death.

I really do like the idea that this movie proposes: a group of medical students obsessed with gathering data about what lies beyond life.

Now I’ll say this for the film: a lesser movie would have these medical students kidnapping unwilling victims and flatlining them in order to bring them back and hear the victims’ death experience. But this movie focuses on the five med students sacrificing themselves for the experience, trusting their colleagues to bring them back to life by jump-starting their hearts. Not sure how medically accurate this is.

In the movie, each person has a different experience once they’ve died – all of them being haunting memories of defining moments in their lives. One of my problems is this: how often are these memories meant to be replayed? For eternity? Who determines what memories we’re to relive in the afterlife? I think I’d sooner believe that our brains shut off and it goes dark.

That’s only if I didn’t believe in a God who created us as souls to live forever. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

For a long time I’ve been fascinated with the idea of what our last moments are like on earth. Like, does everyone have their life flash before their eyes? Do we see the Grim Reaper, or an angel, perhaps? It’s like really wanting to know, but not being willing to try it out for myself. Like, I want to know what it’s like to get shot and have a bullet embedded in my body, but I don’t want to actually go through with it.

Anyway, I’ve always had this concept in my mind that we have a bar and when that bar is filled all the way up, that’s when our life is over. All of our bars are the same size, the only difference is how fast that line moves from one end to the other. For a baby who dies, that bar just goes blip! and it’s filled in an instant. For someone who lives to be a hundred and seven, that line moves very slowly.

But let’s personalize it. When I think of my bar, I’m pretty certain mine is past the halfway point. The only question now is, how close is it to the end? As for your bars, I hope the line is still at the very beginning because I want you both to live long, full lives.

But if you believe there is a God who has ordained it all and is in charge of everything, we don’t have to worry about when we’ll die, because he already knows the day and time. And thank God he doesn’t tell us when that is. Then we’d just be dreading that day and growing more and more fearful. (On the other hand, I wouldn’t be so scared of sledding, and maybe you guys would be more willing to go on roller coasters with me, but what do I know?)

Speaking of roller coasters, I remember when I was afraid of going on them, I’d feel a little better if there were young kids going on before me. Then when they got off before I boarded, I’d think, “Well, they survived. Maybe I’ll be alright, too.” Well, death doesn’t work that way. Sadly, throughout all of history, children have been dying in various ways, many in more horrific ways than I’ll likely experience, but that didn’t used to make me feel any better about dying.

I theorize that most people who have refused to give their lives to God are terrified of dying, and they may not even realize it until they lie in bed at night, alone in the dark, and their thoughts start to wander. I was in that position for a long time. Even as a kid I knew my afterlife was a gamble between a good one and somewhat of an eternal dumpster fire.

But since surrendering to God a few months ago and realizing that nothing I do will determine where I spend eternity, that it’s all based off of God’s grace, I’ve been freed of the fear of death. I’m actually okay with dying now. I just want to live a life that Jesus would be proud of – that’s my only real struggle right now, because I still have so many sins I’ve yet to repent from.

The point is, it’s okay to wonder about death, and it’s natural to feel a little afraid. But don’t obsess over it. Live your life full and well. Make sure you’re right with God, above all else. That’s the main thing. Mom and I can’t do that for you. You’re never going to be perfect in God’s eyes, but all that matters is that you’re forgiven by him. And all you have to do is ask him for it, and daily live in appreciation of his forgiveness. I’m still trying to figure it out, even as I write this. But I do know this: When it’s dark out and you’re in bed and thinking about death, and maybe a little afraid, just remember that Jesus defeated it. He died – he got on that roller coaster before us, and he did come back to tell us that it’s alright, as long as we get on that ride with him.

As for the movie Flatliners, skip it. You’re not missing much. One star, simply because the premise is fascinating. It just doesn’t deliver.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

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