“Life can change in the blink of an eye
You don't know when and you don't know why
Forever young is a big fat lie
For the one who lives and the one who dies.”
(Shovel in Hand, Amy Grant 2013)
God is cruel. It is almost impossible to escape His hard, cold reality. To have created life, to allow us to evolve, to make us believe He surely lives, these are mere illusions to trick us into thinking that all is well and good in the world.. There is nothing friendly about this mortal existence. The disturbing truth is that by creating life, He also created death. By acting through nature, He allows nature to be in control. For God to live, and in so doing for Him to allow suffering and pain and decay, often makes Him seem more a villain than a friend. There is always a price to pay, a cost for all our living. God always has the last word and that word is always goodbye.
I am not afraid of death, but dying scares the shit out of me. I don’t believe that anyone really wants to die. Even people who commit suicide just wish things would get better. Every creature held beneath the waves will struggle to survive. Others can have faith in heaven all they want, but who wants to croak to get there? The good news, for any believer, is that once you migrate from this place, you stop decaying altogether. First you have to get there (and you will). Religion would remind us that we are created to die, that since the day we are born, we are in fact dying. It can seem a long process, although mostly shorter than we’d like. Some pay it no heed. Some are so afraid to die that they never learn how to actually live. Most keep walking, destination unknown, all the while thinking that they “have been learning how to live” when really they “have been learning how to die” (Leonardo da Vinci).
Death is the final destination we all share. It is the inevitable. It is the one common factor we have with all other living things. All the plants, all the critters, every single human being on the face of this planet must die. Only gods have ever escaped it. It’s so true that nothing ever really lasts and nothing ever remains the same. Death is, in fact, the greatest agent of this change. It makes way for new life and cleans out the old. In constant flux, we live, we grow, then we fade. Some have been convinced that life keeps going after you pass, that it simply takes another form. Some believe we are nothing but that food for those worms. To those who cannot embrace either position, it seems just a nasty, despicable thing to initiate.
There are times when I would just like to punch God in the fucking face. Perhaps I’m not in on some celestial joke, but I don’t think any of this is funny. Maybe I am a heretic for thinking that God should be accountable. Why doesn’t He have to follow all the rules He set for us? If I am not to kill then why is it okay for Him to do so? If there is life after death, why would He put us all through this? Would it have been such a stretch for us to start out there rather than here? You can argue that life isn’t fair, but I say that death isn’t fair. What a shitty thing to do to someone you claim to love. I can only hope that He had no other choice in the matter. I can’t be sure, but I occasionally wonder if He is just lazy, a big benevolent slug with nothing better to do than peer at us all through His view to the kill. Thanks to the laws of nature, God does so without having to do anything but watch. Considering the whole suffering “Jesus thing”, I would have imagined a new vehicle for joining Him in heaven would have been in order. I guess watching Himself suffer, or His son (you pick the label), made for good entertainment. To allow, to manifest such a process indicates, to me at any rate, that God gets off on all this death.
So the price of living then is dying. For all joy there must be greater pain. There is no going back, each of us is on our way. “What will be, will be,” they say. I guess I am thankful for one thing. I don’t know when it’s going to happen even though I know it eventually will. Personally, I would rather not know who is going to stay and who is going to go, including myself. Still, I just can’t seem to stop asking, “Who’s next?” The time I have left I should simply leave alone, hoping the illusion called life is exactly that. Life is cruel. The best one can do is to have faith that everything will be okay in the long run. Considering, faith is often not enough to ease my mind.
“Nothing ventured nothing gained
The risk of living is the pain
And what will be will be anyway
Oh, it's better not to know
The way it's gonna go
What will die and what will grow
Goodbye more than hello
It's better not to know”
(Better Not To Know, Amy Grant 2013)
I seem to have misplaced my Faith. I must have put it down somewhere. It is nowhere to be found. I now have nothing to lean on in these troubled times. My trust has gone to sleep. There is no Blessed Assurance to comfort me, no personal relationship with something Holy to rely on. I must depend on me. I must find any hope in my head and the peace that passes all understanding only lives in my dreams. At some point, I think I got lost. In trying to find Him, I have misplaced it all. He is not where I have been looking. He is nowhere to be found.One of the best by-products of religion is having something to trust in and something to lean on. My Agnosticism brings no spiritual comfort. It separates me from that personal relationship with God. I have lost a place to hide. I am starting to realize how important having it is to have something “tangible” to hold on to when trying to survive god. In a world not knowing, I end up knowing nothing. In a world made up of nothing, I end up all alone. I recognize that any lack of definition does not mean there is no God, but I cannot simply float out in the cosmos praying that I am right. My mortal limitations require the more tactile and emotional experiences I have within religion. I need to pray. I need to praise. Fellowship and communion I sorely miss. I often yearn to hear from Jesus in the way He always comforted me in the past.
How does one resolve the knowledge one has with the belief one needs? They do not always flow in juxtaposition. I guess you can’t have it both ways. You really do have to pick one side of the fence or the other. All sitting on a post gives you is a sore ass. When I was a boy and a death occurred, I used to know exactly where the dead would go. The idea of Heaven was the one thing that I really gained comfort from. By recognizing that God would take care of “them”, and I would see each one again, I could handle the grief and the sorrow. The foundation of my birth religion allowed me the freedom to Hope. In that Hope, I was always able to find some semblance of peace.
Now that I no longer understand, I doubt. Doubt leads to fear. Because I cannot rationalize where we go after death, I am left reaching for something I can no longer locate. This is why religion works so well for so many. These spiritual institutions promote stability and offer guarantees in the face of such horrible factors. As a Christian, with Jesus you get the security that more intellectual schools of thought fail to offer. This is what religion is for. We are born into a particular faith structure for that purpose. Only it can offer our personality and Spirit what it requires on an esoteric level. The belief system we are born into is the foundation of all our ethereal needs.
“If I could see what the Angels see
Behind the walls
Beneath the sea
Under the avalanche
Through the trees
Gone would be the mystery
If I could see ...
If I could know what the Angels know
That death’s goodbye
Is love’s hello
And spirits come
And spirits go
I feel them but they never show
If I could know”
(If I Could See, Amy Grant 2013)
How do you have a relationship with the unknown? How can anyone be so sure? When I imagine myself in a more “Christian” place, something within me still calls out for me to beware. I’ve thought of joining other groups of faith, but I feel the same way about them. Deep down, I realize that it is not God who makes me feel like this, but rather it is religion and most of the people who partake in the practice that give me great pause. I do not trust the gods they worship. I would rather be spiritually desolate than live such a blatant lie. The hardest time for me while living this life has been when someone I hold dear passes away. In my grief, I long to know if they are okay. The idea I could be with each one someday always managed to pull me through. These days, I feel like Dorothy, but my dog has died and I can’t find the yellow brick road. I want to make it in the end, but I have no idea in hell where I am going. There is no magic to direct me. I have been running around with munchkins, looking for a way home, even though I realized long ago that I was never inI am resolved to do the only thing I truly know how to do. I get up every day and I live that day the very best way that I know how. I always try to walk the good walk. To be His hands and feet. Each step makes me stronger. Each experience makes me more aware. I take pride in being the man I am despite often feeling like I walk the path alone. I suppose in my own silly way I still believe there is something far more valid to God than that which has been presented in the past. I’m still searching through all the information while trying to discern the truth. Unfortunately, the truth is never the same for anyone. I have to embrace the hope that religion has taught me. I have to remember that no matter how far He seems from me, He is always that much closer.
to begin with. Kansas
It all comes down to trust. You open your eyes, jump out of bed and you carry on. You have to make your life worth living now because tomorrow will never come. This and that matter not, only the other thing is important. I cannot know, you cannot know, not really. We can guess, we can hope, but only by having Faith, whatever it may be, can we find something to hold to. God, at face value, will ease the fear. When someone dies, I often wonder if we have imagined this entire God issue. Are we really just food for the earth? Does heaven and hell and something beyond us really exist? How can I trust in something I cannot see, cannot hear, and most certainly, cannot touch?
Glad to see you,
This is how I greet the day”
(Greet the Day, Amy Grant 2013)