When you’ve lived as long as I have, and have so many more years behind you than in front, you begin to dwell on what the future might hold. In other words, is there really an afterlife, or is our short time on this planet all she wrote. And what a short time it is. Even if you make it to 100, (less than a quarter of one percent of the world’s population does), it’s still like throwing a thimble-full of water into the ocean. The universe is estimated by astro-physicists to be 14 billion years old. But that’s just when it’s believed that matter first appeared on the scene. Actually, since both space and time are infinite, the universe always was and always will be with us. In any event, when you live in a seniors community as I do, where people seem to pop off like fruit-flies, you begin to muse about what life after death might look like-assuming, of course, there is such a thing. It would be nice if Skype could extend its technology to the next dimension so we can get a glimpse of what to expect, but apparently, that’s still not doable. Thus we have to look for clues elsewhere.
One place that might give us some info would be examining the lives and deaths of certain U.S. presidents. For example, our second and third presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. At a time (over 2 centuries ago) when most people didn’t make it past their forties, these 2 men lived extraordinarily long lives-Jefferson made it until 80, and Adams all the way to 91. But the unique aspect of their deaths was that they both occurred on exactly the same day. And that day was July 4, 1826- EXACTLY 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. (Actually, that infamous document was signed by various delegates to the convention hall in Philadelphia throughout the entire summer of 1776; but July Fourth was settled on as the official date of independence.) Jefferson died first, in the morning hours. Shortly thereafter, Adams, lying on his death bed, supposedly uttered the words-“Jefferson lives.” Was he seeing a vision of Jefferson crossing over into the next dimension? Now what are the odds of these 2 figures, so prominent in the American Revolution, both dying on the same day, and that day being exactly 50 years from our first Independence Day. The odds would have to be in the gazillions. One would need a super computer to calculate all the variables. To make this scenario even creepier, our fifth president, James Monroe, died exactly five years after that, on July 4, 1831. Was all this just coincidence, or as the religionists might say, there was a divine intervention playing out.
For those of you going with the gazillions to one theory that extreme coincidences do occasionally occur, lets take a peek at the lives and deaths of two more U.S. presidents, namely Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy. Lincoln was elected president in 1860 and Kennedy in 1960, exactly 100 years later. Both men were assassinated while in office with gun shot wounds to the back of the head. Lincoln was shot while attending a play at Ford’s theater, while Kennedy was shot while riding in a Lincoln town car manufactured by Ford. Both men had wives that lost a child while in the White House. Lincoln was advised not to go to Ford’s theater that fatal night by an aide named Kennedy, while Kennedy was advised not to travel to Dallas by his secretary named Lincoln. Both men were succeeded in office by their southern vice-presidents named Johnson who were born exactly 100 years apart. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln was born in 1808 while Lyndon Johnson who succeeded Kennedy was born in 1908. Amazing how these “coincidences” just keep piling up.
So what should we make of all this. Are these just a series of random events occurring in an empty universe, or is there a larger force at work. And if there is a spiritual force pulling the strings behind the curtain, what message exactly is being sent. No one really knows. The religionists would say that one must rely on his or her faith in God and leave it at that. Belief in the invisible man, as the late comedian George Carlin put it. But here in this seniors community where I live, and where Death, with his black shroud and scythe, who is seen constantly flitting among the bushes or peaking out from behind a tree, and who has taken up permanent residence, such questions continue to percolate.
The strange incidences I discussed above, plus the after-life experiences of some people who were clinically dead for several minutes before being revived, would seem to indicate that something larger is at play beyond our brief stay on this planet. Of course, there are those scientists who claim that those near-death-experiences were just the colorful fireworks of a dying brain. But I think that it’s likely that our brief lifetimes here are to prepare us for the road ahead for the rest of eternity in another dimension.I believe that life on this planet is pretty much the way Shakespeare portrayed it in Macbeth, as follows: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”