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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ready for the Next Journey?

I’ve been contemplating my own mortality lately, which I blame on a run of unexpected deaths within my small tribe of family and friends. Since the beginning of time people have come and gone. It’s as natural as the sun, and the dirt, yet it still seems utterly barbaric to me; particularly the way some of us die.

Truth really is stranger than fiction, and if I were to write a book about a planet where people mysteriously disappeared, without a trace… forever, it would be considered an eerie science fiction novel. Yet, this is our reality. Nobody really knows where we all go when we die. I like believing in heaven, no more tears, like that baby shampoo, but I’m rather clueless as to what heaven really means. I comfort friends when they lose somebody, telling them how natural this cycle is, but I’m ashamed to admit that inside I’m really relieved that it wasn’t me or my loved one. This dying thing is totally unnerving.

The young seem nonchalant about death. Of course their bodies are still under warranty, just needing fuel and tires, but my warranty has long expired, and each morning I suspiciously eye my body in the mirror, hoping it will get me where I need to go for the day.

Some people live with death in mind, taking their vitamins, and avoiding the proverbial cracks in the road of life. Others dive in and tempt fate, trying such stunts as bungee jumping, or driving during rush hour traffic. Me…. I defy death in my own timid way; like ordering the double mocha choka latte in lieu of the skinny one.

My mother used to tell me that I was here to learn how to trust my God, love others, and be nice to mean people. Good answers. But when I’m lying awake at 2 am, rehearsing an argument that I will never have with my neighbor, because his dog won’t stop barking, these answers seem irritatingly cliché. Why go through so much trouble learning all of these lessons if I’m not going to use them for long?

Perhaps I’ll be using my acquired wisdom in some place more evolved? A heavenly place, not contaminated with the rage of hate, or selfish indifference. A place where acceptance is not based on appearance, or wealth, and love is spread generously, like butter on bread, and shared with every hungry soul.

Our planet is awe inspiring. It’s alive with creatures that move to a set rhythm, working toward the common goal of survival. When I see a tiny humming bird hovering at a bloom, carefully navigating a sip of nectar, it moves me to tears.

I’m fascinated at the nervous hesitancy of a gray squirrel approaching an open field, cautiously surveying the danger level, and then running like hell with its tail all wild and fluffy, until it’s safe again in the refuge of a great tree.

All of these things speak to me about the cycle of life. I often feel superior to the creation around me; perhaps because I can walk on two legs and have the ability to use hand tools, but in reality, I am small, and I must follow the same natural laws as the squirrel and the humming bird.

Right now it is my turn to walk this planet and then the next generation shall replace me. My footprints will fade as the tide of years washes over them, but I believe that my spirit will venture onward, strengthened by the harsh lessons of this journey, walking an unknown road to a distant land which some have named heaven. I want to live big, and from my heart while I’m here, so that in the end I can smile and say, “I’m ready for my next journey.”


Anonymous said...

I love hummingbirds. They are amazing little creatures. I lovingly make 'nectar' for them and relish in joy every time I see them feasting.
I watched a movie years ago and it was called Purgatory- it was like a Western 1/2 way point to continue to live while a decision was made- like one more chance to get it right. YOu could live there for a long time as long as you followed the rules and a buggy would come and get you if you didn't and drop you into hell or come get you and take you to Heaven's gates. It was a movie that gave a picturesque view of potential. It be nice if someone died and came back and told us what really happens...maybe take some photos with their iphone. :)
Love you- PS- you're not allowed to die, we need you.

Leah Griffith said...

Anon, I used to feed the hummingbirds when I lived in MA. Now I write about them. That old western sounds so familiar...was it a Twilight Zone episode? Anyway, I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon, but just in case I do plan on living large;) I love you too. *grin

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