When you live with depression and anxiety sometimes enough is enough!!
It’s been a tough couple of weeks in our house. Two weeks ago we entered in to the final days of life for my father-in-law. A man whose body, after 91 years, decided it could not perform all that was required of it. He peacefully drifted away surrounded by those who loved him. Those, who even in their grief understood he must go the way of all living things.
I often wish that I could be of a more optimistic mind. Because I feel that from time to time I’m completely incapable of imagining the dead as having ‘spirits’ that freely pick up on relationships long separated by another death.
I get why we’re inclined to believe it. I’m just not sure enough of what death holds to commit myself to something I can’t cognitively rationalise.
Believe it or not, I’ve learned a number of important things under the tutelage of Dr. Allan Meyer. And, of the many things he uttered, one that always comes back to me when someone I know dies, is: That the transition from life to death carries with it the unimaginable differences of life before birth. (My apologies to Al, if I’ve misheard his message.)
What I’ve come to believe is that when in the womb we cannot possibly conceive of ‘living’ outside it. In the place where our very being is preparing for physical reality, we would appear to be unable to compare our warm, wet, ‘fully serviced’ environment, to the harsh realities of hunger, pain and loneliness. (Just to name a few.) Being slowly, and at times unwillingly, discharged into ‘living’ consciousness, would appear to be an unfathomable notion whist we’re comfortably ensconced within the perfect environment.
Because of this, I’m inclined to wonder about the transition from life to death. Are we so adapted to our environment, that our perception of death is simply a case of ‘more of the same’ without a cumbersome structure of (failing) cells?
As you’ve possibly come to understand, my mind works in series’ of unanswerable questions that reflect a great deal on what can’t be known. Things like the fact that geologists cannot with any degree of certainty, predict the intensity of an earthquake prior to it’s occurrence. ‘Tell us what the effect of the earthquake will be?” is an unanswerable question. We can be made aware that an earthquake is inevitable, however there is no way to predict it’s scale.
Like conception, life and death, we know it will happen. We know that life can be created, that birth will ensue and that death will inevitably occur. It’s the knowledge about the effects of those events that we cannot predict with any degree of certainty.
So, to the unanswerable question of what happens when we die, we are cognitively ill-equipped to understand what awaits us at the end of the journey. Like the ‘discomfort’ of our journey through the birth canal, the journey toward death entails a painful exit from a known, to…, well…, an unknown and unpredictable …er… place.
Even though, interestingly enough, I’m satisfied by Christian teaching and it’s presupposition of an eternal relationship with a creator God, I’m not convinced by all our inadequate minds create when left to determine probabilities in absentia of irrefutable proof. And because we’re sentient beings we will inevitably believe what makes us feel best and what we can, with some degree of reflection and based on known parameters, fit into what we already know.
Sadly, what we already know, is strikingly inadequate.
From Steve Jobs: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.