The Long View

This blog has been looking like my personal obituary section, and I suppose it is. While I promise to change that, for this post I’ll stick with the theme, and surface some correspondence with an old friend who recommended that I read The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. In the correspondence that followed, I shared some of my own views across life’s horizons. Thinking those perhaps blogworthy, here’s what I said:

Just ordered the book.

Odd that I’m a lifelong Christian (technically, Catholic) who (thanks to my wife, who is observant) attends mass every Sunday. Yet I believe the most useful teachings of all the major religions at their best are about kindness and mercy toward other people and the world, and that our sum purpose as conscious and responsible beings is to leave the place better than we found it. In this sense, eternal life is gravy, not meat and potatoes.

So I will be surprised and pleased if there really is an afterlife of some kind. And I would dearly love to hang again with those five people, plus my parents and other loved ones who are, as we say in this world of time and space, departed.

However, absent proof here in time/space world, the way to bet is pure absence: an afterlife like the beforelife.

Did you know I was working for the Psychical Research Foundation, which studied the possibility of life after death, at (but not of) Duke University when I met David Hodskins and Ray Simone? This was an occasion without which I would likely never have met Gil Templeton, Kim Cameron, Craig Burton and others I’ve memorialized online. It see now for the first time that the poetry in that, with those guys—all younger than me—while I’m still here. Wherever this is.

Our favorite priest, Father Sean Olaoire, calls people “spirits in space suits.” This is consistent with Bill Hicks‘ take: “It’s just a ride.” Sean and Bill’s case: we are timeless beings who catch a ride in time and get off when it’s over. We need Wise Ones like Jesus to tell us that our world view is insufficient, and the real myth is mortality.

So, we’ll find out. Or not. Either way, it’s best to clean up first. I’m at that stage now, even though I still have work to do. Back to it.

So I’m back. See you soon.

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