Posts Tagged With: spiritual world

IS GOD LISTENING?

Apparently not, at least regarding the recent devastation left in the wake of deadly tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and other parts of the country. Scores of people lost their lives for the simple infraction of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many others survived the storms with their lives intact, but lost their homes and all other material possessions. Yet the most intriguing facts of these events were that they occurred smack in the middle of the bible-belt states; and that those who did survive the storms only to lose their homes and all other possessions, nevertheless, professed that their faith in God had not been shaken one iota. If anything, their faith was only made stronger by the misery surrounding them. And why not? When reality is so brutal and destructive, as in the case of these storms, the soft cushion of delusion is so much more comfortable to sink into. Keep in mind also, that the material losses these people suffered will likely be replaced by insurance companies and Government assistance. So being homeless with no possessions will likely be a short term proposition for almost all that were affected. Thus, I for one would be the last person to tell these people to forsake their delusions that God is looking out for their best interests. At this point, what else do those that so tragically suffered, (the loss of a child, for example) have to fall back on.

But it raises the question of why events that humans have no control over,(hurricanes, deadly blizzards, earthquakes, etc.) often take their heaviest toll on those who have the strongest traditional beliefs in God, as espoused in both the old and new testaments. To put it more bluntly, why do bad things happen to good people. In fact, there was a book written some years ago with just that title. ¬†Seems that the author’s view was that God was just testing the strength of our faith. Also, we only exist in this lifetime for such a small amount of time, whereas we’re over on the other side for, like, all eternity, so what difference does it make in the first place. Not very comforting answers as far as I’m concerned. So the following is my view as to why devastation occurs to some and not others, and why some people who seem to be as pure as the driven snow often die young, while other miserable, evil, lowlifes can lead full and enjoyable lives into a very ripe old age. Think Mafia leaders, serial killers who are not caught, tyrants and despots who often slaughter their own people by the thousands, and other miscreants. So here are my theories as to why all this transpires. The gospel according to me.

First of all, I’m not an atheist. I do believe that there is a higher power out there; I just don’t know what that higher power is. It could be the total collective energies of all living beings in the universe. Whatever that power is, I’m pretty sure it’s not an old man with a long white beard, wearing a white toga, and sitting on a golden throne somewhere in the heavens, as often portrayed in classical works of art. In fact, if God did have a gender, I would think it would more likely be female, since women provide the initial source of life. Secondly, I believe the bibles, both the old and new testaments, to be, basically, a collection of fable, mythology and superstition. Much the same as was written about Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, and the other gods in ancient Greek mythology. Religious fundamentalists believe the bibles to be the word of God. The trouble is, both testaments were written 100% by men, not God. Yes, there are some fascinating stories in both bibles, much the same way that Greek mythology had fascinating tales to pass on from one generation to the next. But, they were still completely written by men and contain all the fears, superstitions and myths that people over 2000 years ago possessed. And did I mention that they’re laden with one contradiction after another; i.e., is it an eye for an eye, or do we turn the other cheek.

So, in the gospel according to me, the Hebrew and Christian bibles are of little value. What is of interest, however, are a long list of near death experiences by hundreds of people, just in the past 50 years or so. While this is purely anecdotal, the similarity of these NDEs, and the volume of their happenings, would appear to suggest the existence of a spiritual after-life. And if such an after-life does exist, logic would indicate that a higher being also exists that has orchestrated this entire scenario. (Be advised, however, that some people who stopped breathing for several minutes, and then were brought back to life, did not experience the traditional NDE event. There was no light for them to go into, and no being waiting to welcome them with deep love. There was just- nothingness. So the possibility of an after-life is not necessarily a slam dunk. What you have now may be all you’ll ever get.)

But as I’ve said, the prevailing anecdotal evidence would suggest the existence of a higher being who created the mechanisms to get this whole universe thingy into motion. But once having done so, God, in effect, sat back and said his work was done, and all you living creatures out there are pretty much on your own. At least until you leave this material dimension, and enter his spiritual dimension. You may be on your own there too; who knows. Remember, it’s not just the 7 billion people on planet Earth that are involved. If God is omnipotent, then his realm is the entire universe where gazillions of planets exist housing gazillions of living creatures. It would unreasonable to expect God to be personally involved in the events of anyone of these life forms. And that is why bad things often happen to good people or vice versa.

It’s called randomness. Flip a coin a hundred times and it will like land close to 50 heads and 50 tails. Flip it 1000 times, and the 50-50 split will likely be very close indeed. So when you hear stories of how this couple prayed mightily to God to save their child who was in dire peril, and God answered their prayers and saved their daughter from some terrible affliction, remember that it could just as easily gone the other way. And often did for some parents whose children were not saved in similar circumstances. Like in the recent carnage at the school in Connecticut. I’m sure all the parents of those school children affected, prayed with ever ounce of their being that their child would not be one of the casualties, as they raced to the scene of that horrendous crime. And for most parents, their prayers were seemingly answered. But for 20 sets of parents, it appeared that God was indifferent to their pleas. Just call it the randomness of the universe. And you can take that as gospel.

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VULNERABILITY

Whoever said that old age was not for sissies hit the nail right on the head. As one ages, inevitable aches and pains start creeping into one’s muscles, joints, knees, ankles, necks, shoulders and other parts of what’s left of your body. You slowly but surely begin accepting these pains as they become interwoven into into your daily life routines. After awhile, it becomes nearly impossible to imagine life without them. They become your constant companion, almost certainly for the rest of your life. Although I am generally considered to be in good health, unquestionably, I have my share of maladies. Among my list of ailments are asthma, allergies, arthritis, and that’s just the A’s. If I went through the whole alphabet, I would need a blog longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Along with the physical ailments comes a mental degradation, as you realize you’re no longer strong enough to take on various physical challenges or threats. Thus, as one ages, invariably, a foreboding sense of vulnerability continues to creep into one’s psyche and grows in strength. All part of the fearfulness you often see in seniors’ behavior.

One of my chief physical impairments is a loss of hearing, or as they called it back in the day, deafness. Yes, I have to wear hearing aids, which are not only obscenely expensive, but of marginal effectiveness. People with normal hearing capabilities usually don’t realize that hearing aids come nowhere close to restoring ones hearing capabilities to what they once were before hearing loss began to set in. In a crowded restaurant or other similar environment, they are practically useless. That’s because hearing aids magnify noises indiscriminately. So dishes clattering, conversations of people across the room, and all other sounds are magnified to the same degree as the words being spoken by the person sitting next to you. It’s your demanding job to try to hear the conversations of the people at your table, above the interference from the other sounds emanating in the room, and being picked up by your hearing aids. Often, an impossible task. But like everything else, you muddle through and rationalize. After all, it’s a lot better to have hearing loss than blindness. But, like all other disabilities, it feeds one’s sense of growing vulnerability.

Since we have lived in a seniors community, we have seen much disease and death over the years. Just a couple of days ago, the obits in our local paper carried the news that one of our residents had just died of lung cancer. He was 10 years my junior; so I figure that as long as I’m looking at the green side of the lawn every day, I’m ahead of the game. A few years back, a man we knew quite well, developed liver cancer in his early 60s. He was a really good guy, well-liked by everyone, and had a strong thirst for life. Hence he decided to fight the cancer tooth and nail. This meant heavy doses of chemo, with all its debilitating effects, being in and out of the hospital almost every week, and an array of non-ending surgical procedures. It did extend his life by a few months, but at an enormous cost as to the quality of that life. In the end, the inevitable occurred. I think if I were put in similar circumstances, at my age, I would opt not to undergo the chemo or any other therapy, and just let nature take its course.

This man, after he was diagnosed, told me that no one in his family had ever made it past 60. Bad genes, apparently. The fact that he had made it into his early 60s, was for him, something of a triumph. But as I get older, I see more clearly the role that genetic inheritance plays in determining one’s longevity. We know people well into their 80s, who seem to plow through life with little physical difficulty. Others have aged well before their time. It’s all in the genes. As for myself, I feel that I have a lousy genetic inheritance, (to say nothing of an even worse financial inheritance) since everyone in my family history died young, save for my father. I try to compensate by going to the gym every day and working out like a dog, but I think, in the end, poor genes will trump exercise. In the meantime, I just take it one day at a time, and continue to look for the green side of the grass.

The fact that seniors instinctively know they have far more mileage behind them than in front of them, is often what makes them so fearful and oblivious to all but their own needs. Many spend most of their remaining lives going from the doctors offices (they usually see a multitude of doctors) to the dentist office. Most cling to life with every ounce of their remaining strength. In Las Vegas, It’s not uncommon to see seniors dragging along oxygen tanks as the come to play the slots in smoke filled casinos. Some are in wheel chairs, or can only get around with walkers or canes. But they come because it gives them some form of entertainment, to say nothing of the casino noises and hordes of people throwing their money away on the machines or the craps tables. At least it gives them a chance to get out of the house.

I believe the fear of death is mostly rooted in the fear of the unknown. What is on the other side, if anything. Anecdotal evidence from those that have undergone near-death- experiences would indicate that the soul does enter a different dimension, one usually described as being ¬†paradise. But there is obviously no sex, no food, no drink, no TV. So I’m thinking-how much of a paradise can it be? You would think that by now, some sort of a skype-like arrangement would have been set up between us and the departed, so we could know exactly what to expect. And your mother could continue to nag you from beyond the grave. In the meantime, I, along with a bunch of other seniors, will continue to value the time we have left above ground in this dimension.

 

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