Is it God or is it evolution that causes us to grip life so tightly?
Most of us do whatever it takes, whatever the pain, to hang on as long as possible, to draw life’s breath one more day, one more hour, one more minute, one more second.
Is it the fear of the unknown, not knowing that when we shut our eyes for the very last time, if we will ever open them again?
Will we wake up on the other side?
Or will we go back to the existence before our birth, the blackness of nothingness?
Not hearing. Not seeing. Not anything.
Is that why we hang on?
The religious, the true believers, are supernaturally calm. They know what lies beyond. The paradise of eternal existentialism is just on the other side of that last breath of life.
Or is it more than that? Maybe it’s the peace of a blessed assurance. I don’t know. I’ve always been a bit unsure.
I’m religious. I’m a Christ follower. According to John 3:16, all I have to do is believe. “Whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life,” to go back to my King James Sunday school roots.
Is that it? Believe, and, before you know it, there’s an eternity of mansions and golden streets with no road construction? Is heaven going ridiculously under par on a championship course? Is this heaven? Or maybe a really nice time share?
Believe. That’s it. And it’s yours. Doesn’t sound so hard.
Except, it kinda is.
For a naturally skeptical human like myself, the whole belief and faith thing isn’t so easy. Sometimes I say it, but the doubt remains.
I have questions.
What about the ever expanding universe? What about quantum physics? What about dinosaurs and prehistoric bugs? Or what about bacteria that’s been around in some form for billions of years?
And let’s just ignore the universally big stuff like the Mesozoic Era for a bit.
If there is this an all seeing, all knowing being in charge, why is there childhood cancer?
Explain the death of any ordinary humans doing extraordinary things. Like a young mother raising a family. Or a pediatric nurse taking care of sick children.
Explain why good people die young.
Sometimes when it comes to those perplexing bouts of godly indifference, it seems easier to think that our existence is owed to pure chance.
Is it easier to believe that a few billions years ago, our sun blinked into being, just because a few billion flecks of dust congregated together into a special kind of party?
And a few billion years later, here we are, standing next to a gas pump, bitching about the high cost of a fuel that was formed hundreds of million of years ago from decaying vegetation that got squished under a few million layers of dirt and a whole lot of time.
What are the chances that time would unfold in a particular way to make it possible for us to be right where we are, right here, right now?
Is all this just a cosmic roll of the dice? Is our being here an absolute ridiculous one in a trillion chance?
Or is it a predestined plan of an almighty being? Are we just pawns in a Godly chess game?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I still hope for some sort of eternal understanding. I hope that when I’m gone I will somehow still be around.
And, I will fight to the best of my abilities not to find out too soon.
I will continue to cling to life with the utmost respect for it, and with the survival instinct of many generations slammed into my soul.
I will continue to fight to stay on this conglomerate mass of space particles, and try to live on. Never give up, and all that.
I know my future is cloudy and possibly full of pain, as cancer attempts to punt me into the great beyond, whatever that may be.
I will cling to life, and not because I’m afraid of becoming a non-sentient pile of matter. And not because I don’t think I look good in white robes.
I will endeavor to continue life because of the people I’m in love with. My family. My friends. Because, when you slow down and take a long look at life, there really is nothing more important than that.
If there is anything I’m frightened of, it’s of missing out on life with the people I love.
So I will hug the people close to me, and cherish the time I have left with them. Because, really, that’s all there is. It’s the only thing that’s solid.
The concrete reality of love. It keeps us alive. It keeps me fighting. It makes us human.
No matter how we got here. Or where we’re going.
Thanks for reading.