My blog posts do not just to burst forth in a moment of
thought or creativity. I start thinking about them, the topic, the content, the
accompanying artwork, days or even weeks before I put pen to paper (so to
A few days ago, I had just gone onto my blog to check for spelling,
grammar, or other errors. As I re-read the post (which was about actual deaths)
I started to think about my usual topics - death and cancer and having the knowledge
that you’re going to die in relatively short order.
Now everyone knows that they’re
going to die eventually, but knowing that instead of those forty to fifty years
you thought you had left to play with and in, you only have a few years, tops.
And you don’t feel much like playing. So you are left, and I thought this was
clever, staring into the “gaping maw of death.”
Now, I’ve been running around the Internet long enough to
know that truly original ideas are very, VERY rare. As much as we all like to
think that we are unique and special, people come up with the same thoughts and
ideas all of the time. And sure enough, if you google, “gaping maw of death”
and you will get 6300 results, which to me means that it is fairly common.
Many people with cancer and other progressive diseases are
stood upright in front of death and made to truly stare into that gaping maw
and consider the implications. What does it mean to be dead? Is it total
annihilation of the self where we only ‘live on’ in the memories of others and
the odd photo (or blog ;) left behind, or is there an actual piece of us, some
energy (a soul) that leaves and goes elsewhere (heaven, hell, the eternal
cosmos, absorbed into some great energy of the universe). Who has it right?
Catholics? Protestants? Pentecostals? Jews? Muslims? Atheists? Mormons?
Resuscitologists (see book by Sam Parnia), Scientologists (please no)?
That’s the hardest and most frightening part of death. We
just don’t know and can’t know until we leap into that open, dark, slimy maw.
And so we’re left with a choice. Which idea of death do we want to hang on to?
Which one is the easiest for us to live with? I was raised a Christian and so
that is the idea that is the most comfortable fit, although not the usual
heaven as angels and harps and everyone dressed in white, yada, yada, yada. The
idea of the afterlife as going home is very appealing to me.
We’ve all been away from home for periods of time long
enough to feel a sort of relief upon returning to our own abode.
Letting go. Finally. Peace.
This is what I choose. This is what I hope for.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. ~ Job 13:15