Death is like thunder. You know it’s there but afar in the distance. But, it comes not with a bang but a whisper.
Those were the opening words I spoke at my grandfather’s funeral when he passed three years ago.
For some reason, death has always intrigued me. Still, in this moment, I don’t have a good explanation.
Maybe, it’s that snotty little kid in me who always thought he was right. I think that attitude has helped me approaching battles in life; for better or for worse, I typically go after and attempt to overcome whatever I want with reckless abandonment.
But, death. You see, she remains a fickle mistress. There are no mountains to climb, riches to be made, fighters to fight who can give you the secret to overcoming death.
Maybe, that’s why it’s captivated me – one last enemy to overcome.
Alas, I came across an old piece of writing today.
One of those “X Lessons on My X” Birthday that everyone seems to love to write and no one seems to love to read. Unless MJ, Ghandi, or Christ wrote it.
Here it is should you care to peruse it. I found it surprisingly true to this day; though, at the time most of those words were simply projections of ideals I had one day hoped to embody.
Yet, #4: Be mindful of your own mortality
I used to put that chart on my refrigerator (I’m crazy, remember). It was my reminder of death.
I sent it to my girlfriend and she thought it was too intense; Today, I agree. I wouldn’t put that same photo on my fridge – I thought I had evolved past that.
Then I realized that I have a Van Gogh painting (wish it was real) of a skull smoking a cigarette. If that’s not a reminder of death, albeit, a more regal and sophisticated form, I don’t know what is.
You see, my second bout of depression grew from a major crisis of faith that centered on the question of what happens when you die. Now, I’d answer who the fuck knows so go live a good life but let’s continue.
Many people believe you die and go to Heaven. Sure, it may be true. But, it is also could be incredibly wrong and you could remain six feet under forever.
What I believe you shouldn’t do is ever accept simple answers to complex questions though they may be in fact the right ones in the end. There are layers and paradoxes woven into the nature of being and it takes time to understand and process it all.
I came out the other side as a more liberal Catholic, whatever that means. I, then, lost my faith entirely, devolved into a life of nihilism as I’ve mentioned, and here I am today.
It’s interesting that reading the Bible interests me again.
Not really as a man of faith for that is a question I still have to examine, but more so as a student. A student of life. Because, whether that book contains any truth and I believe truth is far beyond just the scientific and rationale, it is the greatest story ever told.
And, I like stories. Stories make us feel alive.
It’s oft cliche when you are told to go write a damn good story of your life but let’s not forget to read the best ones humanity has to offer as well.
Email Chad and I your story at showmestrength (at) gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.