I am intrigued by the idea that this life is but one incarnation of many. My catholic upbringing didn’t hint at this. Quite the opposite. My childhood was riddled with the fear of eternal purgatory where my soul would spend eons working off the debt of a lifetime of sin. And then there was that familiar prick of guilt that boiled under my skin for each white lie I told, for each unkindness, for each failed relationship; even when I was good, for not being good enough. Each transgression was entirely my fault, of course, always my fault. I have spent decades apologizing for every breath I take. The idea that I might have lived before, and may again, softens the blow of a bumbled existence.
There is also another concept to consider. When this life ends and I breath my last, that will be it. The end, fade to black, but for the passage of my dna and fading memories in the minds of those left behind.
And of course there is one more story going around. Talk of mansions and streets of gold, virgins, banquets. Of happy reunions with loved ones passed, with beloved pets even, as the newly departed are escorted by angels to a perfect place, better, far better than this. If I had to tell it, certainly I’d embellish it even more…as some have…no sadness, no sickness or hardship, eternal bliss, but, and this is where the tellers of this story and I part ways: there is a cost. To enter this club heaven, there is a price…a secret pledge, if you will. It’s like an incantation. “Repeat after me,” they say, “and all is forgiven, past, present, and future”. It’s tempting. Say a few words like you mean it and you’re home free. I even tried it once, maybe twice, just to be sure, just in case I didn’t mean it enough the first time. But I just couldn’t reconcile the doctrines of this elite club and the rules they played by here on earth. The idea that saying a few hallowed words somehow gives one a pass and the license to make life a living hell for anyone who’s not a member. That’s part of the plan, you see, convince the lost they’re hopeless, make them say uncle, or god or whatever…”prosperity, eternal bliss can be yours…just repeat after me.” You get credit for every soul you convince. Like I said, tempting.
We like these stories that we’ve made up over time to make sense of life, and death. Some make more sense than others. But no one really knows. I certainly don’t have a clue. But I must say the older I get the less it matters. Really. I am okay with any of them or none of them. I certainly don’t need a mansion, too much upkeep, and it’s the neighbors…I have found it hard to get along them on earth, or even like them, for that matter. What if I could get a do-over? Or even if this is it. Fade to nothingness. I’m okay with all or nothing. Dust to dust. Dust to dust. I don’t mean to sound morbid. Blame it on today’s reverse. The truth is I’m inclined these day to savor moments. A moment is a long time if you pay attention. It is more than enough. At least for me it is. Peace to you on your journey to wherever. There are roses to smell and to admire. And look! There goes a butterfly!
Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 26 May 2019
stars reveal our capacity for hope
but for brief flickers of remembering
apple of sodom, bane of innocents
ambassadors of peace with prickly tongues
seems out of place
a softer me
crushed by a thousand
longing for a life deeply rooted
it’s almost heaven…almost
A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.