Spring has Sprung

This week I’ll address a question that I get asked from time to time. Given that the people who ask me are typically close friends, I suspect that others have the same curiosity but are too polite to ask. The question: “do I ever think about death?”

The Rushing clan doesn’t typically “do” spring break- except in the form of soccer tournament travel. I’ve been looking for excuses to travel with the family, however, so here we are back at Seaside. A couple of years ago, I resolved that we were done with Seaside for family vacations (but left the door open to visit Mom when she comes down). I have a tremendous sentimental attachment to the place, but realized that for “Seaside money” we could give the boys a broader set of experiences- our trip to Costa Rica for example. With everything going on in our lives, however, I forgot about my resolution and subconsciously went with what I knew. In fairness, I can’t travel to any exotic foreign destination due to my health anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Livin' the dream

During the past year, I’ve written around death a lot. I’ve spent time on what will happen to my family in the aftermath, and I’ve addressed what I’m doing in preparation. While I’ve danced all around it, I haven’t gone in on the act itself. It’s not that I’m afraid of it, I just haven’t spent any time thinking about it. Considering that it’s Easter weekend, however, this seems the perfect time to bring it up.

We’ve engaged a counselor that will eventually help the kids through their grieving process. She noted that for children of a certain age, it’s tough to comprehend the finality of death. The concern is that our youngest may have issues with this- i.e. understanding that Dad’s dead, but expecting him to come back. Consequently, I’ve been very sensitive to that concept of late. It seems that everywhere I turn, the idea of life after death pops up.

The oldest and I finished reading Harry Potter a few weeks ago. The Potter books are chock full of death cheating. Harry sees his parents in the mirror of Erised. He runs into them again when Voldemort uses his old wand after killing Diggory. He sees his folks once again when he uses the resurrection stone. He himself cheats death by using said stone- crossing over and coming back. Then, of course, Voldemort crosses back forth a couple of times himself.

When I finished Potter I decided that rather than embark on a new series of books, I would pick an old favorite to revisit one last time. It was a tough choice, but after serious (serious) deliberation, LOTR and the Foundation series lost out to Dune. (I also had ulterior motives- since there are now nineteen volumes of Dune, I’ll probably run out before the books do).

Speaking of death (and rebirth I hope). To my shock and horror,
the original Seagrove Village Market has been demolished. This
to make way for a newer and better iteration, but that old one
held so many memories...
In any event, the Dune saga spans millennia, and there are numerous life after death shenanigans going on. Leto the Great’s Golden path is the broadest example. The most acute example, however, is the concept of the ghola. A ghola is a Tleilaxu creation- essentially a clone grown in an axlotl tank. In the case of Duncan Idaho, the tleilaxu figured out how to return the memories and personalities of the deceased to a new ghola- thereby creating the potential for eternal life.Of course, Leto takes advantage of this by growing a steady stream of Duncan’s over his three-thousand year long life. I digress.

All of this is to say that I’ve have a steady barrage of life-after-death imagery thrown at me for the last few months. Despite that, I’ve had no such thoughts or even daydreams for myself. Beyond the fact that it’s not possible, the idea just doesn’t interest me. Don’t get me wrong; I want to live for as I can (given a baseline quality of life). I feel pretty strongly, however, about leaving when my time is up.

I’ve heard that a lot of people who face death spend a lot of time thinking about the afterlife. I have not. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, as a Christian, there is no work to perform to earn myself a better fate in the afterlife. You don’t get into heaven by doing stuff. There is simply faith. If you believe, then your fate in the afterlife is a function of his grace. As for what happens next, the good book spells it out.  Secondly, I’m more focused on what I’m doing with my remaining time here than I am daydreaming about what will happen to me in the afterlife. I’m confident enough in what will happen later, that I can spend my energy on now.

So, what do I think about death? I don’t really. There you have it, nothing profound, no secrets. Ya’ll have a great week and please keep the prayers coming- not that I’ll beat the tumor, but that I’ll beat spring break on the panhandle. Catch you next week.

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