Saturday, July 21, 2012

What happens when you die?


This past week, I've had the chance to think about what happens when you die.

Uplifting, I know. But I actually don't think that's so morbid. Death is the one thing we're all hurtling toward. It's just a reality: part of the circle of life.

That's not to say that I don't believe we can be sad when someone important leaves our lives. It's called missing them. We'd miss them similarly if they had decided to leave our lives in any other way. Except that this is final. No changing your mind. No seeing them accidentally on the street. No chance that they'll send you an email to prop you up when you really need it.

But it brought up the question as we sat around the table: what happens to them when they're gone?


Some thought nothing. That you just decompose and that's it. There are those who think you are reborn as something or someone else, that you're reborn to a life in the heavens to live with your God.


I think that there is something that none of us can imagine. Maybe it's a combination of all those things. That the truth is so complex that it had to be boiled down to something simple that could be understood by the masses living centuries ago. It has taken us this long to understand what we now know. I suspect that there is at least that much more left to discover. There are so many complexities to life that I can't believe that we already understand everything. It seems overconfident to think that what know is all there is to know. So I believe that there is more, but I can't tell you what that is -- I don't know if I'm even smart enough to conceive of the possibilities of alternate existence.

Maybe this belief is a symptom of my over-inflated sense of importance of self and the human race in general. But I want to believe that there's a reason for all of the trials we go through. The learning. The circle of it all. The effort of the world to just exist.

So death, for me, brings up the question: why am I here? Even if I believe that there is something more after the "now", what is the purpose of "now"? It's my belief that we're here to learn. To get the meaning out of both the good and bad. It is all here to teach us something, to add to our understanding and fulfillment of being our best selves. My best self is wise and loving - a self I haven't yet achieved, but strive for.

What do you believe?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Bogaart,

There are approximately 7 billion people in existence, working together, doing God's work. You were born with certain skills, characteristics and temperament that complement the other 7 billion people. When you are done your part of God's work you will die.

We weren't created to learn. There a lot of humans who are illiterate and they will never learn. While learning is part of what you do, it is not the reason God created you.

Do you ever wonder why certain smokers die at 60 and others die in their 80s? Whenever I see a smoker who has lived longer than the statistical average for a smoker, I ask them what they've done for the past 10-20 years. It is during this extended period in their life, that tells you why God kept them alive longer and the purpose of their life. If it wasn't for this particular purpose in their life, they would have died much sooner.

Cathy Bogaart said...

I find it amusing that you say with certainty that I am wrong -- that we aren't created to learn. And that you know why God created me. I don't believe you or anyone really knows.

I think you misunderstand me when I use the word "learn". It has nothing to do with literacy, although for some it does.

I use the term "learn" to describe what we do from the time we are born -- well before we can read. We learn.

I'm not saying that I'm right about why we are here. It's just my idea right now.