Special to the Forks Forum
On a recent visit to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, I asked my doctor to give me a probability statement on my chances of survival. The answer came back, “50 percent chance of five more years.”
Since I have made public my wailing over mortality, I thought I would share those numbers with you. Five years from now, if I am doubly blessed to be sharing my thoughts, some of you may mutter, “Isn’t he supposed to be dead by now?” At least for me, Seeing Through is a rich experience fulfilling an inner need to share personal reflections. Others might not choose such even when prodded with a stick. This small stage, in a corner of The Forks Forum, is where I am making my stand.
For those that enjoy me, I wish it could go on forever. And for those that don’t, all things will pass.
Standing on this small stage, I feel the wind from a falling curtain. I am trying to put together what it is that I have learned in 66 living years. I am reaching out for those important lessons I have missed. I want to put some “Tuesdays with Morrie” spin on these Thursdays with Chiggers. But what this week’s contribution comes down to is a statement on what I believe, which is worth no more than what you believe. But, we are both stuck with me writing this column, so here goes:
I have had faith issues all my life. On some counts, inquisitiveness can work against faith. Under the scrutiny of analysis, faith can shred like an over-cried-upon tissue. I read the Bible twice before I got to high school. Truth be told (and hold the lightning bolts), I didn’t care for the Jehovah Guy in the Old Testament. When I confessed this to a friend, he gave me a Bible with Jesus’s words in red ink. What a gift! It’s the red ink that makes me tell people I am a Christian.
But, if I am in a discussion requiring scientific perspective, I Peter/Judus my Lord and announce myself as Agnostic. To me, it’s the only safe ground in a scientific discussion. Insisting on or denying the Existence of a greater power seems like admitting to a great bias or prejudice. Some of my best friends are Atheist.
But even if you hold the line on how much wonderment there is in the universe, how can you deny the huge metaphysical that surrounds us and pulls at our hearts? Where is Love in the Origin of Species? If I have learned anything in this life it is: LOVE is ALL! Love is the only wealth that you can clutch on your death bed. If what’s left of my shredded faith is true, Love is the only thing that follows us into the hereafter.
In case you’ve missed the point of my Seeing Through rant so far, it is: What we call reality is based more on perception than physical process. What you call “reality” is a hologram in you brain. What I call “reality” is a separate hologram in my head. That each of us is invested in our own realities explains so much. It explains war. It explains divorce. It explains why the thought of death makes me nervous. It leads to: If I go, I take every beautiful place that I have experienced with me.
My Christian friends offer little comfort on this subject. I feel safe on the count that death has no punishment for the mistakes I’ve made in this life. On the contrary, I feel that death is relief from the hurt that I have brought into my heart in these living years.
I am not holding out hope, if the bar is set low enough or if Jesus gives me a boost, that I will go on writing for the Forks Forum from behind pearly gates. What separates you from me is that we ride around in discrete bodies, exposing ourselves to vastly different experiences and perceiving things from unique perspectives.
If my consciousness survives in some spiritual world and I am pressed up against the spirits of my deceased parents and the friends that I have lost and billions of other souls … how can there be such a thing as identity without physical boundaries?
Our consciousness is based on brain waves. Our ego surfs the crest of the peaks. Modern psychiatry tells us that much goes on in our subconscious of which we are unaware. Neurology affirms that actions such as digesting, heart contractions and perspiring are managed in the medulla oblongata with which we have limited conversation. When brain waves speed up, we experience the illusion of time dilation. A second becomes an epoch.
What if the only time that I am Chiggers is on the point of that peak brain wave? What if that brain wave cresting on I AM CHIGGERS falls back into a sea of humanity where we are all One?
What if when we pass by someone in need, we are at the same time reaching out to ourselves for help? What if we are never alone to worry about dying because we are already dead, still alive and waiting to be born? What if we are, at this moment, writing this column together? What if it’s not death’s prerogative to say there is no more me, because there is only WE?
What if, as individuals, we are not islands of consciousness facing submersion by a rising black sea? What if, instead, we are black islands resisting a Sea of All Knowingness? What if death is not the sputtering out of the candle, but the collapse of curtains our arms ache to support? What if death denies me the human pleasure of a sunset on Second Beach, but bestows the privilege of being that sunset?
What if faith is accepting things for what they are, and realizing, for better or worse, we are always part of it?