Monday, July 28, 2014
Blogging from the heart
This is one reason I don't post every day (other than having a life). It is too easy to fall into the trap of cranking things out just to be cranking them out. I might as well be working. Because if you don't really care about what you are writing, neither will the reader.
Not that I really write to be read. I write to try and figure out life, or at least organize my thoughts about it.
And speaking of trying to figure out life, one of the great challenges I find in being a parent is trying to answer my children's questions about difficult subjects like death, god and Legos. I try desperately to give them honest answers without projecting any stifling believe systems onto them. Because when I was growing up, I was never presented with any options when it came to death, god or Legos (which hadn't really been available when I was a kid).
I was raised a Christian Scientist and was told that we were neither born nor would we die, if (and it was a pretty big if) we had enough faith. I apparently didn't because my parakeets and hamsters kept biting the dust despite my prayers. I stayed a Christian Scientist until I was about 16 and gathered enough courage to tell my mother I didn't really believe any of it. Regardless, it was years before I went to a doctor (if you know nothing about Christian Scientists, one of their main beliefs is that the only medicine you need is prayer...it's a wonder I lived beyond age 10).
So, having been force fed religion as a child, I don't want to force feed my lack of faith to my children. Nor do I want them to waste a great deal of time handling snakes or speaking in tongues. Now that both of my kids are in school, the subject of god comes up more and more as they interact with classmates who go to church. My son is taking more of a strict atheist stand whereas my daughter seems torn.
And with the recent death of my mother and my cat, my children are perplexed as to what happens to us after we die. The platitudes of "going to a better place" or "being at peace" fall flat without the religious back story of heaven and hell. And despite my total lack of faith in any religion, I struggle with the concept that death is the end. I realize that this is largely due to my age, but I have always tried to hold onto some hope that we could walk through a tunnel into the light of a totally secular afterlife. And I fantasize that it is like staying at an all-inclusive resort where you really don't have to tip and they don't try to sell you a timeshare.
But how can any of us speak with any certainty about what happens after you die? There is only one way to find out and then, unless you believe in psychics, there is no way to tell anyone about it.
It is not so much that I care about losing my physical self when I die. I become less and less enamored with it the older I get. It's my consciousness that I cling to. It's my sense of self. It's the me that I've known since I was old enough to be aware. It's the I that only I truly know. Honestly, I don't want to become one with the universe. I kind of like just feeling unique, even if I'm not. I don't like the idea of being a drop of rain falling into a river or the ocean, even if it does make me part of something bigger.
Kind of a selfish spiritual point of view, I know. But I'm betting I'm not the only one who has felt that way. After all, why did the Egyptians go to such great lengths to preserve their bodies after they died? And why did the Pharohs build the pyramids if it wasn't about this need to be recognized as an individual?
Still they died. And their bodies, if not their memories. hang out in museums no matter where their spirits (if such things exist) ended up.
I do believe this was one of my longest digressions yet. But at least it came from the heart.