29 01 2009

I wrote this late last night when  couldn’t sleep:

Sometimes, when I hear really good music, I have this moment of real bliss. I feel like that music is resonating with a part of my soul, and I feel completely calm inside. It’s then that I contemplate everything about life and specific moments in life. Certain moments float through my mind that have this indescribable property to them. They’re moments where I had realizations of what this conundrum called life is about, or they are moments that really molded my character, or they can even be moments that I wish I could change to something better. They are so much more than that, though. There’s this eternal quality to them. They feel like moments that were trapped in a jar and frozen like popsicles to be put on display in my mind forever. I don’t know if I am making any sense with that description, but I don’t even know what to make of them after thinking and experiencing them for years and years. One moment like that was when my family was on a trip to somewhere over the summer. I was in the swimming pool with my brother Jon and he was messing with me for some reason, although my brothers always messed with me. I was looking into his eyes because I was trying to figure out what he was going to do to me next, and then I had this feeling of appreciation for him as my brother. I never really had thought about it up to that point, you know? I feel like we all just sort of take it for granted. It was just this intense moment of brotherly love and that we were family. It was so weird at the time, and I didn’t really understand what it all was. Another time, I had a moment like that was when I was 7 or 8, and I had invited my friend Max on this hayride with my Dad’s church. (I’m not sure if that’s a Midwest thing or something Texans can appreciate, but basically in the fall you ride around in trailers full of hay and get pulled around by tractors in the night. When I lived in Illinois, they did that with people in costume running up to the trailers and scaring people. Anyway, you have a big bonfire too, and make smores and stuff. Basically an all-around good time.) Well, my friend and I were on the kid’s trailer. We were all throwing hay around and being kids, but at some point, he threw hay right in my face. That was when I realized what a good friend was. Before that time, I don’t think I had ever really had a good, solid friend. I moved out of Indianapolis right after pre-school, and I didn’t live in Moline long enough to develop good friends. I can’t even remember but 2 or 3 people from that whole time, and none of them were really “good” friends. Even though he has just thrown hay at me, I can remember just sitting there and taking a moment, and just saying to him “You’re a good friend”. I don’t think he understood what I was saying at the time, but that was such a big moment for me.

It’s like all of those moments we all have are all so disconnected, and so personal. Yet, I also feel like those moments are so reciprocal; that we’ve all had those experiences. They are almost like same-size drawers to a cabinet that can be rearranged, or pictures from different photo albums that can be reshuffled and no one would no the difference. That’s what I mean when I say “eternal”. They are experiences we have all had in one way or another. Yet, we all reacted to those experiences so differently. It makes us all so similar and so different all at once.

When I was about 13, I had my first realization of what eternity meant. I had been playing this game called Final Fantasy VII (great game) and I think some of the characters in the game had been talking about eternity and what they thought it was. It was then that I realized that eternity meant forever. I knew that was it’s definition, but I never really had thought about what that meant. It meant that if Jesus really had died for my sins, then I would live in heaven forever. It would never end. My consciousness would never cease. No matter what I did, I would be a conscious entity for all the endless years. The moments I am experiencing now in my life would end up being the tiniest of blips on the radar of my existence after billions of years. I mean, what do you do for all eternity, anyway? What will I do for all the time that will never ever end? It’s not something you can just escape from, because you already exist and you can’t just un-exist and you wouldn’t want to end your existence anyway. You just have to keep going towards eternity no matter what, even if you don’t want to. That was the first time I had ever had a real panic attack. I remember it was spring break at the time. I was almost in the vegetative state just thinking and thinking about it. I was so scared, and I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about what was going on. I felt so inconsequential to everything in the world. I had this chilling fear in my heart just thinking about it. I still have that fear at times. It’s this feeling of absolute cold in the deepest most inner part of my being that only lasts for a moment or two, but it makes me die on the inside. I just feel like I can’t go on with anything and my body shuts down. I don’t know if you have ever had an intense and choking fear like that, but it’s the worst I’ve ever felt in my life, without a doubt.

It wasn’t until much later (freshman year of college) that I began to think about it more in-depth. My thoughts and ideas on what eternity was were based on a construction of what this life was like, and for heaven or any sort of afterlife to be a real, powerful, and meaningful experience, it has to be completely different from what we have already experienced in this life. Your life can’t just end when you die, either, because then what was it all for? Your life becomes so meaningless if you die and that’s it, because your whole life would have been like a kid playing with Play-Doh in the corner of the nursery room: after you’re gone, someone else is just going to ruin and destroy what you made and not give a hoot about it. Life is so wonderful and indescribable to just be an accident of nature. Someone wanted all of us to experience what we have experienced (the good and the bad). We all have a purpose for being here, because we can’t just exist for no reason. We can’t just be an accident.

I think those moments of eternity I was describing earlier are a taste of what heaven or the afterlife must be like. I just have a feeling inside of me when I think about all those good moments that everything will be ok and that’s there’s nothing to worry about, because in the end we will all be taken care of. Those moments represent something so much bigger than everything else that my problems are just wisps of dust to be wiped away.

Thanks for reading this all the way through. The music I was talking about earlier was an EP by this band called Warm in the Wake called Gold Dust Trail. I highly recommend it. Particularly, the songs “Golden Inhibition Destroyer” and “Skeleton Friends”. Those are the ones that really brought about all of this out of me.