“We yearn for continued existence after death, though we don’t know what to do with ourselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” ~ Robert W. Funk
When Marsha shared this quote with me it stopped me cold in my tracks. I never thought of the “afterlife” quite in those terms, at least not since I was a kid when I thought the afterlife might be a of place of endless playtime.
My grown-up self has shied away from thoughts on eternity.
So it was actually with some delight that I took to thinking about just what kind afterlife might appeal to me.
Soooooo, I was off to the races…
- The life I know is the one I’ve lived, so I thought maybe there were some true and beautiful moments I could put into cruise control that would live on for eternity. Then I invariably remembered something I did to screw them up and I quickly passed on that idea. So I thought, okay, let’s drop the true and beautiful stuff and just settle on the stable times when I wasn’t swimming between the devil and the deep blue sea.
- Like right now. My current life is pretty decent. I’m kinda, sorta retired, married to great woman. I enjoy writing my blog and engaging with friends and family, plus I’m super happy being a granddaddy. So would I like to live my life in this moment forever? Well, I don’t live on an island and the world now is such a selfish and divided place, so probably not.
- What about the great days on the west side of Chicago when I was first starting out in life? Wasn’t it a great a time? Didn’t I love Chicago and my work in Washington, DC — so many great people and interesting projects. So how about those days for eternity? Well, not so fast, Pat. How successful were you? And how much alcohol did you consume to forget your problems? So there, too, I decided to take a pass.
- Then I recalled my early days of sobriety and the thrill of learning so much about myself and other people. How refreshing it was to get honest and real. What if I fed on those days for all eternity? Well, maybe not. Rehearsing the cycle of addiction every day for eternity might be a bit like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the unforgiving hill.
- Then thoughts went to when Marsha, Erin and I became a family. It was a time filled with wonder, grace and new beginnings. How redemptive were those days — getting a shot at being a father and a good husband. What a miracle! So wouldn’t this be the perfect afterlife, the bliss of love of a new wife and child? Hard call, but how I’ve enjoyed watching Marsha grow into the woman she’s become, and Erin, the husband, father and engineer. So I decided here, too, I’d have to take a pass .
- What about my career in Collegiate Services? Didn’t I enjoy that life — all the businesses, students and people I worked with? Well, yes, I did, at times, enjoy my work. But what about all the grief, struggle and hassle in running a business? Remember, Pat, you never did feel like the brightest guy on the block when it came to business. So CSI would definitely not play in eternity for me.
After I finished traipsing through my entire life I’m left with the fact that I have no conception of how I’d like to spend time in an afterlife. So I decided to do a little more probing. I reached out to my favorite theologians, psychologists and philosophers for some thoughts. When I finished my explorations the one who had the most to say was none other than Fred Rogers, as in Mr. Rogers.
“In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of — moments when we human beings can say “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I forgive you,” “I’m grateful for you.” That’s what eternity is made of: invisible imperishable good stuff.”
So there you have it. Wouldn’t you like to spend eternity in those twinkling moments with those words ringing in your ears?
- I love you
- I’m proud of you
- I forgive you
- I’m grateful for you
Just a thought…
NOTE: We are experiencing some problems when people try to reply directly to a post. Until these issues are resolved, please send any comments directly to Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2021 Patrick J. Moriarty. All Rights Reserved.
Would you like to submit a post to Just A Thought? To learn more, please click here.