It's been a rough week. Several people at my company were laid off this week. Some had been with the company for a long time. I work in the TechPubs department, with five others, and three of us were laid off. I'm very grateful that I wasn't one of them, but very sad to see my coworkers struggle with this unexpected shock and its inevitable repercussions.
One nice thing this week was that Jim has a house to work on. We don't know if there are more in the immediate future, but for now, this one job is good enough. That's all you can do really. Is take it one day, one job at a time.
That's what I've learned recently. To exist in the now, to live just this day. It came to a point with a single profound thought.
We'd been watching Lord of the Rings last weekend and I got to thinking about what really happens to us after we die. We humans tell ourselves a lot of comforting stories, but what logically makes sense? And I thought "What if it's just nothing?"
That's a scary idea at first. I'm sure many people would rather not think about it, I know I didn't want to. But I stuck with it. What if, after I die, I entirely don't exist any more? No suffering, but no pleasure either. I think it's the thought of no love that scares me most, no loving God, or light or presence. But I wouldn't care, because.. well.. nothing can't care.
Then I realized, if there is nothing (and it seems that this makes the most sense) then it means that every little thing I do while I'm alive is just that much more important. Every act is a one time opportunity. Every sensation is a treasure. I felt a renewed appreciation for my life. And yet, could all the stories be wrong? There are some very smart people holding some very strong beliefs that life after death is a fact.
I read a children's book this week called Holes. It is an excellent book that made a very good point about belief. In it, the narrator describes a highly poisonous lizard that can kill a person with just one bite. And he says:
"A lot of people don't believe in yellow-spotted lizards either, but if one bites you, it doesn't make a difference whether you believe in it or not."
It's the same for life after death. If it exists, whether I believe in it or not, it will still be there. Presumably I will get to enjoy it because I'm a good person striving to be better. At least that's what most of the stories agree on. If it doesn't exist, and I live my life with the idea that there is nothing more than this life, then I will strive to appreciate and do well with every moment I have. It's really a win-win situation.
So now I'm not scared that there might be nothing after death. I've explored the worst and it wasn't so bad. Plus, I've still got hope that there's something better.