January 3, 2005 @ 1:34 am by sean
A few hours ago I returned from my great-grandma Pauline S. Dzieciolowski’s viewing and rosary; the funeral is tomorrow. My mind is full of half-developed thoughts on death, life, and everything in between that I can’t seem to finish. Perhaps fruition is best delayed until a time when it will mean more. My head is also full of thoughts resulting from a conversation that I had last evening with an un-named friend. The thoughts on the subject are not nearly even half-developed, but other ideas resulting from the conversation I have a better grasp of. What I do know, is that I’ve hyphenated 4 times in this paragraph, and that I have a satisfyingly delicious, and deliciously satisfying cup of tea that I am drinking.
I suppose I’ll start with the funeral. Since my thoughts are half-developed, I’m sure my paragraph structure will be similar at most. First, I’ll say I hardly knew my great-grandmother. I’ve seen her on plenty of occasions, but by the time my ability for conversation developed, her’s began degrading and they continued with constant reciprocity. She’s been sick for a while, both realistically and hyopchondriacally, and for the last few years has been in nursing homes. Mum made a comment to Jen as they were standing at the casket about bodies being a vessel. A vessel for what I don’t remember, because as soon as I realized what she had said, my mind thought further until I had completely confused myself on the topic. What I thought of later was how in ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ when Meg was being cared for by Aunt Beast. I don’t remember the name of Aunt Beast’s species, but they didn’t have eyes or mouths or anything like we do, they had resemblances of them, but they didn’t actually have them. In our terms, Aunt Beast was blind, because she couldn’t see objects as we do. But what she did see, and I have to use our terms again because I lack the vocabulary, she saw what was on the ‘inside’. To explain how this works, one must read the book, I will not explain that for anyone(perhaps because I couldn’t), but the idea is that they see beyond the vessel that mum spoke of. I had a thought as I passed into sleep last night about how I should not be alive because of the things I have done in life. Sin is disgusting, and I am a sinner; why should I be alive? The thought then came to me that I am forgiven, so I would go to heaven, so why should I die? Heaven is better than here. Life is too good for Westerners. Often better than we realize, but we are so afraid of dying because life is so good. Although immortality isn’t possible(now at least, in Popular Science there is an article about engineered immortality. It is fairly interesting, I didn’t finish it), I am far more afraid of not dying than dying. Miracle Max asked Wesley in The Princess Bride what Wesley had that was so worth living for. What do we have in life that we consider death to be some horrible thing? Is life good enough that we consider heaven is just marginally better than here? Just as dying to ourselves and finding life in Christ is freedom, so is dying on this Earth and finding life in heaven. I’ll miss my great-grandmother, and I’ll miss anyone who dies. Perhaps when the occasion comes that someone close to me dies my perspective will change, but I can only tell my own story, and so far this is all I know. The beginning of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet X goes like this:
‘Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
And for those whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow.’
The end goes like this:
‘One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.’
When I die, I’m dying of old age if something doesn’t kill me sooner. I don’t want life support, I want to get out of this place! It says in Ecclesiastes that the one who has died is better off than the one living, but better still is the one who hasn’t even been born yet. Because life isn’t that great. Sure, some people have died horrible, horrible deaths, including our Savior, but what suffering would matter considering the eternal life one would spend with God? The longest suffering on Earth wouldn’t be considered even a ‘short sleep’ in the time frame of eternity. My tea has run empty. As a friend gave his condolences about my great-grandmother in an e-mail, he said his condolences were only for if she wasn’t a christian, if she was, then he is happy. And I think that is the appropriate attitude. Maybe my perspective will change with experience, I’ve heard ‘A Grief Observed’ by C.S. Lewis is really good. Perhaps because the closest deaths to me have been pets just as much as people, death doesn’t have much of an effect on me. I do not consider this a positive. But also because playing it safe means removing dependancy on things besides myself. I can only live as long as I do, so I will never face the loss of me. I can always depend on myself to be alive, because once I am not alive, I am not me. Or at least I will not be a me with any sort of dependancy. The vessel will be gone, but what is left of Sean, the Sean that Aunt Beast sees, will be in heaven. If I don’t depend on anything, I can’t be hurt by anything. I of course am dependant on my parents, and am dependant on friends, but I am certain that if all those things are removed, I could still function. I hope with all the hope I have that such things never happen, mainly because my dependancy on my parents is finally extending beyond logical dependancies such as finances and shelter. I’ve always had a more emotionally developed dependancy on friends, but I’ve always done quite well in solitude; I love my friends and would selfishly like all of them to be with until death do us part. (transitioning to thoughts on the conversation….) Playing it safe can only be done by eliminating challenges. I have a fear of making mistakes – mistakes aren’t a result of doing something right – which is perhaps an advanced fear of failing. Because it is so easy to make a mistake with emotions, as I have certainly proven these last few months, the thought of desiring a feeling was pure foolishness.(I would like to clarify here that my having emotions and feelings was not the mistake, but how I acted in response to them.) I lived by a quote from a poem by the same friend this conversation comes from saying, ‘I can’t what I do based on what I feel, for feelings are a most unstable thing, full of worries, tossing seas…’ This un-named person is surely not as emotionless as I, and I am quite sure she can see how this is not an absolute as can I, but it was how I lived my life. But now I am desiring this thing that I once thought foolish. Just recently while reading Perelandra, I was very unhappy when Weston came to Perelandra because I instantly knew that with his presence there was going to cause all kinds of problems. I wanted to go there and forcefully put him back into his spaceship and send him back to Earth because I knew that Weston would cause big problems that Ransom and The Lady couldn’t afford, and then later what atrocious things would happen because of the un-man. I’ve now since made attempts to welcome challenges, because any good thing in my life, and perhaps nearly all good things in life, come through challenges. I feel a need to think about that statement because I’m not sure of it’s certainty. I’ll do that later. Aunt Rhonda sang a song at the viewing today. It had a title that I don’t remember. It had words that I don’t remember. But the chorus was something to the effect of, let the raging seas come, let the storm clouds roll in, because I’ve got Jesus by my side. Paul says if God is for us, who can be against us, but have I ever applied that to my life? Doubtfully. I’ve never had to. No one is against me becaues I’ve avoided challenges I know I can’t win. By my attitude should be more of a ‘bring it on’ kind of attitude, instead of ‘I’d rather stay where I am.’ attitude. I made some first attempts at this while playing poker on new years day. I love that day. My dad’s brothers and dad come over and we play poker and watch the bowl games. I always lose all the money I start with, but it’s okay. I took risks I wouldn’t usually take, some worked, some didn’t, but it was hard to do sometimes, even in something that matters as little as poker. I don’t want to stay where I am with Nicole. It is proving to be a challenge just to stay there, and the challenge and difficulties so far have brought a great harvest in other areas of my life. But I desire the feeling I had when I was ‘with’ her, and I want whatever challenge that will take. And maybe the challenge will reveal something different than I had in mind. Maybe that incessant ‘not her’ is God and not satan. Either way, while increadibly shamful for one part of the situation, I’m increadibly thankful for another part of the situation. Just as the conflict between Ransom and the un-man brought great things, so has this situation brought great things. I have other great things in mind and I know what ever challenge I face, those great things will be worth all of it.
Just a suggestion, don’t read the e-mail subscription thing to my xanga because I don’t think you get the edits, and I edit it and update it many times. Probably the best time to read a post, is when I make a new one because I very rarely edit old posts. So if you want to know all I have to say, read this post after I made a new post. Get it? Or you can just keep re-reading it. I’ve edited this one(inlcluding including this paragraph) probably 3 times in the last half-hour since I wrote it. So wait at least a day before reading it. Unless you, understandably, don’t care enough.