Thursday, January 03, 2008

Faithful friends who are dear to us...

A somewhat sad, somewhat funny, discussion of death and faith, from the heart of a questioning mind. (WARNING: This post may be offensive to... well.. practically everyone.)

One of my favorite sayings has always been, "I have never questioned God, only what man teaches in his name." The reason for this is pretty simple. I believe in something, but I find a huge amount of the dross and dreck that is tossed about by organized religion to be fairly offensive.

Sorry hubby, but I have no intention of obeying you, unless I agree with what you are telling me to do, and then, if you try and tell me in a way that requires obeying, well, frankly I may do the opposite simply out of contrariness. However, I will back you whole heartedly if you seek my concurrence in a respectful manner.

Also, I really don't care what other people are doing in their houses/bedrooms/lives, so long as they aren't beating their children/spouses/pets, or performing acts similar in harm to the aforementioned beatings. I have more important things to do than sit around wondering if my gay neighbor's lifestyle is degrading the moral fiber of a nation fascinated by reality t.v. shows and bent on conspicuous consumption.

I am not pro-life, I am not pro-abortion. Having worked with abused and neglected children, I can never support a policy that would expose additional children to lives of abuse and neglect. I have also worked with the foster care system, and am aware of how many children there are without permanent homes. So if you are going to have children, please want them, provide for them, and love them! If not, I sympathize, it would suck to be faced with that decision and I send you a sincere hug. I don't think it's murder, because I am a lawyer, and frankly, it doesn't fit the elements of murder. If I can analyze the intentional death of a full grown and birthed human being and say it doesn't fit the elements of murder because it wasn't premeditated, or it was self-defense, I am certainly not going to call an abortion murder. (I am not going to get into the legislating women's bodies issue, but let's just say... I have strong sentiments.)

Anyway, these are a few of the political reasons I am not a member of any organized religion. I would spend too much time in internal and/or external debate. Further, I don't join well and I feel very private about my spirituality. I don't feel the need to share weekly with others. I am usually quite content to enjoy my relationship with the powers that be entirely on my own. Anyway, back onto my long, drawn out, and meandering point.

I believe in something. I think I may believe in reincarnation, though I simply prefer to call it the great big ball of energy in the sky, and generally mean I believe the energy in our bodies becomes something else when we die.

I think I believe in the soul, I am sure I believe in some special nebulous spark that makes us unique and can't be easily discovered by science, if it can be discovered at all.

Normally, I am content to be uncertain. There are so many things in the universe, I do not have the hubris necessary to believe I am capable of understanding all of them. I know I am not. Therefore, I normally find my uncertainty comforting because it helps me remember the sheer possibility around me.

Not right now, however.

This past year, while I have dealt with losing my dear friend far too young, and Lee's mom, also too young, I have longed for a strong and simple belief in heaven.

I don't want to sit here and wonder if Nick is in a good place, or if Nick is simply no more, or if Nick is the stray cat in my backyard begging to be the fourth cat in our family and the fifth in our house. I wonder if he is in the spirit realm, occasionally sending me advice in the form of inspiration and watching over those he left behind. (Sardonically, this thought occasionally comes to me while I am in the bathroom and has caused me to wonder if people in the spirit world are polite enough to give us living our privacy, or if they gleefully watch us in our most embarrassing moments and snicker.)

If Nick is reincarnated as the cat in my backyard, which cat is he? There are approximately five in my backyard alone. I can't adopt another five cats and provide homes for them on the off chance one of them is the reincarnated spirit of my beloved friend. So instead I leave food outside, and hope they can find a warm place to be (other than the soft warm blanket under a tarp Lee and I set up for the worst nights, or the doghouse we may set out this weekend).

I don't want to think he is no more, because it hurts too much, and the thought leaves me breathless and shaky, vulnerable to the vastness that is this universe and my very small, increasingly lonely place in it.

I would like to know he is in heaven, or a place akin to it, arguing with Aristotle, and Earl Warren, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and earnestly telling them why their legal theories were incomplete, or subtly wrong.

Sadly, I am not certain, because I am not built that way. So, I am left thinking the quasi comforting thought that if there is a heaven, he certainly deserves to be there, so hopefully he is.

Yeah, that one is keeping me warm at night, let me tell you.

I have a similar problem with Kate. I know she didn't believe in heaven and I know she believed in reincarnation, and I know she took in stray animals. So I am back to adopting all the stray cats that come across my door. (There are thousands in Jersey, it is a veritable stray cat spawn point.) I would like to think she is happy somewhere, and not simply gone.

So, there it is. I will continue to wonder if they are here, a thin veil away from me, watching what I, and others, do. I will wonder if they are gone, and will feel the hole their parting left in my world. I will wonder if they are sitting in sunny spot on a cloud and reading a good book.

I will continue to vacillate between the possibilities I am aware of, will continue to feel the mix of feelings they bring with them, and sometimes, will wish I simply believed.

3 comments:

Mom said...

I like to think they're at Bear Mountain, which is better then heaven.

Amy Y said...

I hear ya, Mama. I'm even more offensive than you... I'm not even sure I believe in a higher power at all, let alone something with a name, or Heaven, or reincarnation or anything. I sometimes wish I could believe... but don't know how to believe in something that doesn't make sense or I can't understand.

Anyway, thanks for sticking your neck out in this way... it's hard to admit you don't believe what society or "the norm" does, but it's important to do so, I believe.

Coni Nelson said...

Beliefs are what keep us each privately and personally protected from confusion and scary thoughts. I can't even describe as you did what I believe in, but when I need comfort I imagine those I have lost picking me up off the ground when I need it.

During the embarrassing moments or those that I am not so proud of, I imagine them talking to each other - not looking at me...

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