Saturday, January 1, 2011
Hi! Death here! Welcome to your own, personalized Death! Oh, I know, you don't think you have one coming, but you do. And as an American, you'd rather not talk about it. But it is inevitable.
What? You're scared of me? Don't be. Come back, don't run away. You needn't fear death. Why bother? It won't forestall it.
Yea, I get this all the time, too. It's enough to give one a complex. Even people at death's door don't want to confront me, get to know me, or plan for my visit. You'd think they hate me or something. And what did I ever do to them?
And when my name is brought up in conversation, well, it's like someone died. People just don't like me, it seems. And yet I am the one thing than brings meaning to their lives and is the moving force behind all their religious beliefs. You'd think they'd be grateful! You would think, anyway.
Imagine life without me. Sounds great at first, right? Live forever? Swell! Most religions promise this in the after-life. And no, I won't tell you what the real deal is. But think about it, what would immortality really be like?
So boring you'd want to kill yourself. Nothing would really matter if you were immortal. Why bother doing anything at all, when you have all the eons of time to experience everything? Why even get out of bed in the morning? I mean, sure, at first, it would be fun, living forever. You could make huge amounts of money over time and just plain outlive the heck out of everyone else. But after a while, it would get dull. Too easy, too simple. No challenge.
It would be like a baseball game that went on for infinite innings with no winner. Or a basketball game with no end. People need deadlines to motivate them - to put things into temporal perspective. Deadlines. Interesting word, no?
You see, birth and death are the bookends to your life. Without them, your life would have little or no meaning. And yet every major religion promises you an eternal afterlife. How do you think that would really work out? I'm just saying is all.
Rather than fear death, plan on it. Figure out what it is you want to do with your life and then do it. Maybe you call it a "bucket list", whatever. But few people actually do what they want to in life. Instead, most spend their brief lives doing what they think society wants to them to do. Or worse yet, they chain themselves to material things, working long hours to have shiny objects and impress others.
When I come to visit, they act surprised. "What?" they say, "You mean this doesn't go on forever?"
But of course not. You'd think they'd figure that out by age 20 and plan accordingly. But most don't.
I get a lot of that, too. People who work long years at jobs they hate, only so they can pay off a mortgage or buy a new car. They do little else in life - they don't create, they don't explore, they don't love. But they watch a lot of television! You'd be surprised how many people wonder if there is cable in the afterlife. I mean, they think they can catch up on all their shows, with eternity and all. I have to let them down slowly.
Very few people are ready for me when I come. But it is refreshing to meet someone who says "I've been expecting you, let's go!" and they don't whine and complain about the unfairness of it all. No, rather these folks planned out their lives - or at least tried to - and experienced life to the fullest. When they encountered setbacks, they viewed them as challenges and worked with them.
Now, on the other hand, I really don't like it when people try to come visit me, unannounced. It kind of pisses me off when people try to tell me when they're ready to check out. That's my call, not yours.
So live your life, brief as it is, to the fullest. Enjoy it all and when I come for you, you won't be so unhappy or scared, but rather ready to go.
Is there an afterlife? Is there a God? You really want to know? The good news is, you all get to find out, eventually! So don't waste what little time you have left, trying to figure it all out. It will all be apparent in due course. Just enjoy and live your life to the fullest in the meantime.
Thanks for listening. And I'll be seeing you!