Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, February 13, 2004  

The Quick and the Dead

If a young religious seeker should withdraw from the world in order to develop his knowledge and understanding of God through prayer, and should eventually come to the end of prayer, he would find himself a simple human in need of his own family -- for that is what he was created to do: to mate, procreate, support, and then die.

Other, more self-motivated desires may override his basic instincts, but should he fulfill his personal will in the spiritual, and conclude his search -- the natural shall re-assert itself.

Many people, of course, never marry or are childless by choice or accident. Some say they are happy as they are without mate or children. Yet, as I observe the lesbian couple that lives a few doors down the street from me, I see that their sterility is more sad than satisfying.

The same is true for my wife and myself, and many heterosexual couples who are past childbearing age (or interest). We did what we were made for. Now that our job is done, we're just playing out the string of life. But that central driving purpose, motive and delight is gone. There is working for a living, and filling up the time left to us.

Frankly, that is quite boring. All my other ambitions have been fulfilled, and so I have no independent reason for being. My wife has mastered her occupation as a schoolteacher for the most part, and simply likes to remain busy and serve others.

I wanted to serve others beyond my immediate kin, too, but those desires were thwarted by circumstances, and now I begin to care less if I do or not. Some might call it ennui or acedia, but in fact, this world is a prison of sorts. We are mortal. We age and decay (which is very unpleasant), and enthusiasm for novel experience fades.

Samuel Johnson said in his dictionary about the word -- Wonder -- that it was "the effect of novelty upon ignorance."

He was right about life. The effect of God is never exhausted, but it does reach a saturation in this world if we are devoted to the course of prayer. The same is true about daily life. We do reach a point where we've had enough.

Think of all the old folks who will be living 100 years, and will be bored for the last 50 of them. Yes, we buy motor homes, take up hobbies, go on cruises, play golf, watch TV, volunteer here and there, involve ourselves in politics, but the pathetic fact is that we are bored with living because our most satisfying and important job is over - the creating and raising of children. Nothing can replace the intensity and joy of that vocation.

Yes, egotists will find lots of desires they wish to fulfill in their quest to be "bound in a nutshell and count themselves the kings of infinite space", and many will eagerly await grandchildren to stimulate parental instincts and pleasure again; but I look at various men running for political office such as the Presidency and wonder, "What is wrong with those men? What in the world possesses them to summon such energy and expense for a little brief authority? They must be all wrong in the head."

The Bible knew it well. Sterility is a curse for both married and unmarried, hetero- or homosexual. That homosexuals think a marriage certificate will make them happy is one of the most ironic jokes of all. And like most people, they don't care who or what they hurt in acquiring what will never actually please.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:17 PM |