In the totally pretentious idea that I have some grand wisdom to pass on, I offer the following:
CG, I can say that you have been a piece of a great big puzzle that has changed and shaped my life into what, I believe, is much more in line with reality and what our lives should be like here and now. No one piece of a puzzle can be thought of as less than critical, so because you have been only one piece, that is not to say that piece is not all that significant.
Indeed, in one sense, the piece your story has helped me fit is more important, for you’ve helped me understand about something that is, for most people, very hard to get an understanding of at all. I’ve gained a much better understanding of myself. You had said before that we rarely see ourselves how others see us. That is very true. I’m sure I still am very far from seeing myself as others see me, and I don’t know that it’s desirable to know how others see me anyway. But, in as much as it is beneficial to know how others see me, a more accurate understanding of myself seems to be the best way to get a hint.
Anyway, part of the process of you helping me to see myself more clearly has also shifted my thoughts on both life and death. Of course, how can one’s thoughts be shifted on one and not the other? As has been said, the number one cause of death is life. The best way to never die is to never be born.
"Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Everything is meaningless."
I used to fear death. I used to be paranoid and do everything I could to attempt to control circumstances in an effort to be safe. This was done on behalf of my family, especially my children, more so than for myself. I couldn’t bare the thought that they may have an accident and die. But now, if that were to happen, though it would be devastating to me emotionally I’m sure, in as much as it is a matter of fact that, one day, they will die, young or old --- this will sound cold --- it’s no big deal. I don’t want them to die, but, they are going to. I don’t want them to have to endure my passing some day, but, they most likely will. And the universe will go on; without me, without them, without us.
I recently had a mini debate with a fellow about the reality of objective morality. He had an interesting analogy of what a non-transcendent, yet non-arbitrary morality would be like. He had a point that may be somewhat persuasive if not given much attention. The analogy suffered from at least two problems, however. One, he had an unspoken underlying moral foundation implicit in the analogy that pointed to an objective morality after all. And though that was the main defeater for his argument, the other problem was a very interesting one. What he was trying to show is that, even absent a transcendent source, morality isn’t just arbitrary. But his analogy rested on constricting the circle of importance very narrowly. Once the circle was enlarged to take in a bigger picture, his example did indeed become arbitrary. His example relied on an arbitrary drawing of a circle which made it look as if a moral decision was moral for the simple fact that the impact on the lives of those affected was very great. But in the grand scheme of things, life just kept on going, and the seeming significance of the choice was quickly swallowed up by the mass of other insignificant, meaningless choices.
This fellow’s analogy didn’t concern life or death (at least not directly or explicitly), and yet the same can be said about matters of life and death. Ecclesiastes is in the Bible for a reason! And, the reason that it’s hard for our senses to empathize with Solomon stems from the same arbitrary drawing of a circle. Once the circle is enlarged, the insignificance of our lives, and deaths, on this side of eternity become vanity of vanities, meaningless . . . arbitrary.
But it should be pointed out that my bigger point is to say that significance isn’t to be found in any drawing of circles, big or small. Significance and meaning comes from God, and Him alone. Real significance comes because there is no circle! There is eternity. There is death; or life. Forever.
You being separated from your family, and them from you, is insignificant in eternity. The circle is too small; all circles are.
And with that, I say thank you, brother. You’ve run with more endurance than all on this board have, combined. You’ve fought the good fight probably better than you yourself think. Keep fighting, keep living.
Love in Christ,