Yesterday Leonard Nimoy passed away and large portion of geekdom mourned, including me. He was part of a phenomenon which helped me accept being the oddball in the room, and his passing impacted me more than I thought it would. My condolences to his family, and may he rest in peace.
My grief at his passing led me to ponder twenty-one deaths which happened last week, but which didn’t elicit this kind of grief from me. I wondered, “Why?”
The easy answer, which I am sure some people will jump to, is that I somehow value Star Trek more than Christ. This is certainly not the case, though the Star Trek community has been more welcoming to me than much of Christ’s church – Jesus has impacted me so deeply that I keep believing in him. Too often in spite of the Church.
So if my grief is being expressed this way for “Spock,” why is it not as overt for these twenty-one martyrs? I think because in their deaths there is something almost noble at work. Those twenty-one martyrs stood up to evil, refused to renounce their faith, and then died for it. The contrast with Isis is glaring, and the deeply expressed grief and call for forgiveness from a Coptic Bishop is absolutely beautiful. I grieve their deaths, but they also fill me with something more than sadness. They fill me with resolve. Resolve to continue in my pursuit of Christ, to love deeply in the face of evil, and remain true to my own call.
This in no way alleviates the deep sorrow the families those twenty-one martyrs must feel, and to suggest otherwise is cruel. They have lost loved ones to an act of incredible evil, and those leave deep and terrible wounds. Pray for them, and that whole region.
What makes Leonard Nimoy’s passing so sad is that it’s a reminder that death, in this world, is inevitable. We are all only temporary residents on this Earth, and even childhood icons aren’t immune from its impact. Mr. Nimoy didn’t die for a cause, or standing up to evil. He just died as he was seen to live, with humility and gentleness – and that fills me with sorrow because I will miss him. Even so, I wish that every human being on Earth would be given the opportunity to both live and die in such a way. Better a million deaths of people in peace, surrounded by those who love them, than the need for even one martyr.
Better still, as a Christian, I hope for a world without end – where grief and sorrow born of death, in any form, will finally be no more.