The Valley of the Shadow of Death: The Big Question

When Hugh died, I was left to process some pretty heavy stuff.  As a result, it nearly killed me as well — had I not reached out to the appropriate channels when I did.  Hopefully this explains the vile posts and the hole I fell in several months ago which I am only now finding myself slowly but surely crawling out from.

When my mother passed back in May of 2000, it was a matter of course.  You see, she had a very rare form of terminal cancer that was only held fast by a unique and risky type of procedure.  Because of this intervention, we knew that each day we had with her could easily be the last.  This, of course, cast a pall on everything except her.

It was when she died that a very troubling, disturbing and very real scenario presented itself; a scenario I’m sure not too many people have had the pleasure of observing.  Here’s what it was:

My mother was a devout Catholic.  Her faith was palpable.  It was by God’s will that she had survived each and every day.  She also had enough Near Death Experiences walking with Jesus himself in heaven to galvanize her love of the Holy Trinity beyond any shadow of any doubt.  Her faith became stronger each day she woke up alive.

My father on the other hand is a militant atheist, well, except for those times when he conjures God just long enough to deliberately blaspheme Him out of spite.  If there is a god, there is no more hatred anywhere on this earth than in my father’s heart for God.  My dad would say the most unbelievably blasphemous stuff I have YET to hear ANYONE say ANYTHING like it in person, on TV, in the news or in the movies.

“Animate that clay, and then promptly SMITE it because it did exactly what you knew it would do because you’re God and you know everything.”  That’s the tamest one I can think of.  (This line of thinking, incidentally, leads to some very disturbing revelations when you apply it to, say, a war, or a particularly brutal dictator.)

My mother’s love for my father was literally unbelievable.  My father’s love for my mother was equal if not moreso.  He belied a profoundly tender and gentle nature frequently with a cantankerous exterior.  When he tended to her afflictions, there was no question you were in the presence of an ancient soul — whether you believed in reincarnation or not — who truly, and honestly, and deeply understood exactly what love really was.

I do believe the friends I have left can attest to my testimony above.  Now, let’s begin.

My mom dies. Splat. Now what? Ask yourself logically WHAT MUST NECESSARILY HAPPEN?

We assume that my mom goes to heaven.  Yay.  But what happens to my dad?  Remember, we’re not dealing with a passive agnostic here, we’re dealing with a deliberate blasphemer who will NEVER accept God or Jesus or Allah or Shiva or whatever, simply on the basis that all human suffering exists because of whatever you want to believe created us.

We must assume that he goes to hell, right?  Now think about this: If we assume my mother is in heaven and we assume that she loved my dad, then we must assume she is in heaven AND she is waiting for her beloved.

If we assume that they are honest in heaven, then, when my dad passes, my mother is going to get The Bad News. “Sorry, your husband isn’t coming..”  Now, how can heaven continue to be heaven for my mom?  If you knew you’d never see your beloved again — and worse — knew that they were going to roast for all eternity, what kind of heaven would that be for you?

They can’t just conjure a simulacrum of my father for her benefit either, because that would be deception, a tool of Satan.  If they do conjure a phantom for her, then God does the devil’s work.  Period.  Either that, or get accustomed to lies being “a thing” in heaven.

Oh, but God’s love is so encompassing, you’ll forget all your life’s loves for His Eternal Glory will burn away everything you’ve ever loved down here on earth.  Well, then don’t bother loving anyone — it won’t matter in the long run, after all.  And this logical argument necessarily destroys the sanctimony of marriage.  Be a dick to your fellow man, so long as your love for God is true all will be right.  No wonder the world is in such sorry shape.  There is no incentive for human beings to be good to one another following this logic and it would  therefore be reasonable to assume that this premise becomes a fundamental argument when we justify the pain we inflict upon one another.

And if they let my dad in (remember, miracles are God’s work, after all) for my mom’s benefit, then he gets off on a technicality.  You can hate on God all you want, just make sure someone out there really, really loves you.  The logic here hurts my brain.

And finally, my dad cannot be in heaven AND hell at the same time.  This one is important because it illustrates religion’s capacity to adhere to logic.

As we can clearly see, The Whole Fucking Thing begins to simply fall apart.  Everything gets called into question and any sense religion could offer utterly disintegrates under this scenario.  Permanently.  This isn’t some theoretical situation I conjured out of the aether just for the hell of it, like that stupid “can God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it?” thing; this is a very real scenario that I was forced to process when my mom died.

What all this essentially boils down to, is that if there is some kind of God, then this entity is ultimately unknowable until time of death.  And even then, we still may not know.

I stuffed it in the back of my head and ignored it for the most part.  That is, until my best friend’s step-mom died.  Then I had to process it again to a degree until I could beat it back down to a point where I could comfortably ignore it. 

And then Hugh died.

But this time, I had begun to notice, that if there is a God, he seems intent on culling the gems from this earth with a ferocity and efficiency equal only to his propensity to replace them with no end of awful, miserable, wretched people.  It’s as if the genuinely decent, beautiful people are not supposed to be here…like, they managed to slip through some kind of perverse quality assurance team whose sole purpose is to ensure people like that don’t make it here.  The rest of us are varying degrees of borderline, but they seem to be made to be promptly undone, like an editor swiftly backspacing over a typo.  The moment decency is detected, the gremlins are dispatched post haste.  And if you’re a good person reading this, congratulations! They haven’t found you … yet.

I’m beginning to find my own meaning in things now.  But they are coming from within…from within my heart and my mind.  And I am beginning to accept that when the questions matter, and I mean really matter, we simply cannot know. 

That is something I can have faith in.

For anyone who has read this far, and/or cares, I hope I can be better understood with what I have said.  There is a reason for all things, and there are reasons why I am who I am.

I will hopefully get back to posting regularly scheduled derp.  For all those who have hung in there with me…thanks.

 

Understanding Death & Coping With Grief

Anyone who claims to understand death has either a forked tongue in your ear or a crucifix at your throat.

The less we understand a thing, the louder and emptier the psalms become; and the louder we cry, the more deafening the silence.

Nay, no solace may be found within scripture, or within the contrived meaninglessness it advocates. Nor will it be found within the calcified hubris of academia, which, ironically became the very thing it sought to destroy. For, when it comes time to explain why those whom the world needs the most are seemingly extricated from us with surgical precision and swift prejudice, we’re left with what we started with: nothing. Both clergy and laboratory become uncomfortably similar in that they merely proffer masterfully articulated answers to questions that were never asked.

No, the meaning of death is just like the meaning of life; understood only from within.

In this regard, the failings of both scripture and formula alike are truly spectacular…do not seek meaning within either.

Seek meaning within yourself and incorporate that meaning into the very fiber of your being.

Do not let those whom the world lost be truly lost to the world. So long as we carry them with us throughout our daily lives, we ensure that the world comes to know who exactly it was that made it a better place to begin with.

People only die if we truly let them.

I Miss Him Already

Hugh Ferguson

Hugh Ferguson

With a pain and sorrow I’ve not felt in my entire life, I must bid farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever had to privilege to know, let alone call friend.

Another legend is lost to the world today, as Hugh Ferguson died early this morning from a fatal, sudden heart attack, 5 days before his 54th birthday. I am stunned to be writing these words, as I’m still reeling from the shock of losing one my best friends, literally overnight without warning.

I adored the man. He was always able to brighten a room just be being in it, and I have been blessed to have known, and to have worked with him. He was a mentor, a teacher, an I.T. boss, friend, father figure and confidant. His talent and skill as a musician were unparalleled, except, perhaps, by his sincerity, decency and good nature.

For nearly every day, for 3 solid years I’ve worked alongside him, and not once did I tire of his company, his wise cracks or his personality. He was always there when I needed him without question, while always turning away reciprocals.

I owe my current career opportunity to him, my new-found love of music, and each tune that I’ve uploaded on this site were all made possible from his encouragement. He was the guitarist that helped turned my two tunes into real music; Something From Nothing and A Better Time.

He was the yang to my yin. I was gloomy, pessimistic and grumpy. He was bright, shiny and always in a good mood, thus, he was a terrific complement to me. He was one of those people who always brightened your day if you saw him, and he had a knack for helping me through some pretty unbearable times.

It kills me to write this, so I think I’m going to do something else for a little while. He hasn’t even been gone a full day, and the pain in my heart just swells with each passing moment.

I will never forget him, and I will always be grateful to have been lucky enough to have had him in my life, so bittersweet and short it was.

I can’t finish this, goodbye Hugh, my friend.

Me and Hugh

Me and Hugh