If someone asks you to think back 10 years ago, chances are you don’t remember a random day. You probably don’t even remember one day in its entirety. A more likely reaction is that a barrage of little memories from 10 years ago will begin to project across the personal theater section of your brain. The first time you met a good friend, a great restaurant, a sexual encounter, a moment of realization, or a moment you’d rather forget. Much like movies, our lives are a series of highlighted moments and we are the editors. We live for so long, but in the end it feels so fleeting because we only remember those fractions of time where we felt truly alive. The less you felt alive, the more fleeting it must feel.
There is a seed of a thought growing in my mind. Forever I have bought into the idea that life, this series of highlighted moments, was the be-all and end-all. Now I feel like life might be the smallest piece, and heaven might be something else entirely. Life is so contradictory, and carries so many individual, intertwined meanings. I just read a news article about a 16 year old girl who died trying to save her 6 year old brother from an icy river in South Dakota. Yes it is tragic, but to say that their young lives were lived only to bring tragedy is an injustice to their souls. They didn’t get 80, 60, or even 40 years; they only had 24 years of combined life but somehow that was enough for them, it had to be enough because it’s all they got. They were hardly old enough to even have lives to look back on. What did life mean for them? What does life mean now to those who have lost them? Life and death are shared only because we must all experience them, but none of us will experience them the same way.
I didn’t intend for this post to take such a morbid turn, but for most people someone they know passing on is the only time until their own death that they feel face to face with eternity. Its one of those few moments where we all must ask ourselves the most basic cosmic questions and decide how we will attempt to answer them (or not answer them).
People don’t die to make us sad, and they don’t die too soon. Everyone lives and dies for their own purposes. Its all so secular that this life must be only a single step on a staircase to so much more.
“Perceive those things which cannot be seen.”