A sister in the congregation emailed with this question.
“So I wanted to ask what goes through your mind when you really digest how temporary life is. I’ve spent a lot of time this last year thinking about that. It’s part of the problem with getting back to work. I feel It’s been stupid killing myself to acquire material things. It’s all just borrowed. Beyond what I need to exist I just have no interest anymore. So between being homeless, unemployed, and selling just about everything I own I have felt in this dying process. Plus I feel so outside the merry-go-round of life it makes me understand that he world will shortly turn without me in it.”
This is a very broad question with levels of complexity that would require more then blog time. I would also not be so arrogant to think that I could fix her issues with one email, nor even fix it for that matter. That should be left to professionals who are experienced at this sort of thing. Sister, find one now!
What I hope to accomplish and also why I am posting her question, so that we all may take a little from this and see if it applies to ourselves.
Life is temporary. Yes it is. No it isn’t. Either way it doesn’t matter.
Some of my back story.
I have been walking this earth for many an epoch in one form or another, and I have been cursed/blessed with many of these memories. Some would say these are just fantasies of an active yet delusional mind, some would disagree. For me, they are what they are. Memories of times long gone. In the process of these “Moments” I have had the pleasure of dying in as many ways as you could think of. Most have been unpleasant, some have been comforting. In this moment, in this time around, the heavens have seen fit to smite me with one of the modern plagues. Never to be cured, only to walk the path until the dark comes. So, as with each time death has come knocking, I look to the heavens and ask. Hey, What the fuck?
And every time, the only response I get, is the silence of my end. Except for this time. This time, I actually got an answer. The answer came in the form of two questions. The first was, who am I? And the second was, what are you going to do about it? Now aside from the fact that after all of these years, the answer I got came in the form of a question instead of a straight answer (which I found to be enraging) they proved to be insightful.
Who was I?
I had defined myself by all that surrounded me. My work, the money I needed to make, my status among my peers, what I perceived to be my outward appearance. So the question of who are you was always defined by another question. Who do you think I am? Am I worthy? Which when asked, is always a let down, because everyone is blinded by themselves.
So, who was I? I was a man who had worked his whole life in the entertainment industry. Working endlessly to please others with no return on it other then being smitten with the plague. It was a devastating hit. Nothing to show for it, no Oscars, no Grammies, no respect. Just flat out debt, depression and disease. But somewhere in the endless wallow of self-pity, I came to some extraordinary realizations about myself. No matter what happened, I loved helping other people. It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of brotherhood. Even though it was not reciprocated, once I divorced myself of outcomes as the payoff, I found that it was all that really mattered.
I also found that I love art and the creation of art, still to this day. The fact that I could create something from nothing was and still is a shock to me! It was as close to knowing a hint of god as I would ever come in this or any other.
What am I gonna do about it?
Well, this was tougher! I wasn’t about to quit my job, mostly cause I needed the money. Just like all of you. But in my heart, I made the change. I would help those that needed help the most. The homeless, the addicted, the afflicted, all of my siblings caught in the middle of strife. This had no payoff in the real world. Most times, I never even get see if there are results from my work. But, work I do, because it is in the act that god is revealed to me. And that is the difference.
The Act makes me feel like I am changing my corner of the world in some small way, for the better.
The Act, makes me feel empowered to take on harder more daunting tasks.
The Act, brings me closer to god and further from death, because what matters is the act, not the end result.
So I say to you my sister, with all of the humility that I can muster, Who are you and What are you going to do about it?