Monday, June 18, 2012

My mortality

I'm always reminded of my mortality when I have to go for my blood test and general medical check-up.  The time has now come for me to have my cholesterol level checked.  In moments like this, I'm reminded of the frailty of my life.  As Tennyson writes after his dear friend died of apoplexy (whatever that means today),

From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, `A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.

That's precisely it.  Billions of species have come and gone and what's another life?  Who am I that nature should fashion and treat differently?  But we are all egocentric beings and we want to think we are different.  We are meant for higher things and when we die, we're not really gone but we'll be reborn or we go to heaven or whatever it is our religion tells us.  All that may be comforting but the fact is we are going the same way as billions of species that have not just died but become extinct.

It's only a cholesterol test, you may say.  But one thing leads to another and there's no telling when the old heart may decide to stop beating.

I am quite familiar with Bertrand Russell's "Why I am Not a Christian".  It was the first atheistic essay I've ever read.  But for me personally, it's precisely my mortality that gives me the strongest reason why I am not an atheist.  You may say only a fool will believe in something fanciful to give himself a false hope.  And of course you are right.

Each one of us has a different way of dealing with our impending death.  I deal with mine in the way I am familiar with since my early childhood.  Naturally, I have lost the trusting gullibility of a child and I see things differently today.  My faith today, if faith it can be called, has been long beaten, buffeted and pummelled to a pulp by knowledge and truth and what remains is a faint glimmer of hope.  Tennyson's lines best encapsulates what I feel:
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.

Note: I will be recording my hospital visit tomorrow together with all photos in the private pages of this blog. These details will be of no interest to anyone except those very close to me and even then, those close to me won't be interested in the pics and detailed account except maybe the results of the test but there will be some time spent sitting down and waiting for my turn and I might as well occupy my time taking pics and blogging.

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