I take issue with the phrase “life or death” or “life and death.”
Life or Death? Really, as in life is the opposite of death? If we’re really dealing in opposing sides here, isn’t birth the true opposite? So why do we continually use this phrase like an ultimatum?
Now, where am I going with this?
I’m here to say that I say I don’t believe that there is life after death. I recognize that this is where the whole Pagan thing gets a little fuzzy. Life is not the opposite of death in my mind – life is the space between birth and death. So for me to say that I don’t believe that there is a “life” after we quit breathing, you can take that how you like it. Heaven? Nope. Valhalla? Meh. Summerland? Nah.
I think that when I die, I will be rejoined with who I love. But not in the conventional “kingdom of heaven” way, where you walk among your friends and family the way you do now. No, I’ll just be rejoined with all love, all happiness, all pleasure. I’ll be a kiss, a smile, or a familiar touch. Those whom I’ve loved, and have now passed on, I loved for how they made me feel. They exist in my memories as feelings not as physical beings.
“So you believe in reincarnation?” they ask, reaching for a theory that has rules and definitions. Ehhh, yeah, kinda. I think this is always something that has always shaped me, this thought that life, the actual living part, sets us up for death. I don’t mean that quite so literally, as in the choice that my brother makes to smoke a pack a day is setting him up for lung cancer, even though that’s probably true. I mean it more in the sense that we are born – given life – and through our experiences and through our choices we are preparing the soul for the next birth/death. Life prepares us to die and return to what is intangible; to what is essential and divine.
It’s rather uncomfortable to think that your soul is not yours in an exclusive sense, isn’t it? You’re squirming, I’m sure. We like to think that we’ve got exclusive rights to our heart, mind, and body. “This is mine,” you say to the partner who takes advantage of you, to the cheat who is looking to best you, and to the ones who want you to ‘open up’. You give your time, energy, and your life to hold on to whatever you’ve defined as yours. The Divine in you is on lease, fool. Why else do we feel called, compelled, drawn to, and also repulsed by things or people without “logical” reason? What’s in you is responding to something from the past, giving you the opportunity to get closer to the final encounter with Death.
“Nirvana! I get it, you’re talking about enlightenment!”
Mmm, okay, if that makes you feel better. I mean, thinking that there is an “end game” that we’re all working towards, seems to suit most people. It’s linear and logical! Yes, I’ll take option A!
I’ve grappled with this over and over, and it’s ongoing conversation I have with myself. I respect life through worship, honor life through the Gods, yet I do not run from Death because he is not something to fear. Yes, I said He. And when he extends his hand and says “come, it is a matter of life or death” it will not be a choice to make, but an invitation.
What do you think? What does your faith tell you about death, and does it come into conflict with your personal experiences? Has it evolved, or do you still fear death?
Writer, Wannabe Artist, Overthinker, List-Maker, Photographer, Chronic Under-Salter