|Living and Dying|
|James C. Holaday|
Issue #64 (March 1987)
The problem in life ultimately is that we are alone. Eventually it comes to us that when we die, we are alone. Our vast network of family, friendships, allegiances, and alliances counts as nothing. No one can volunteer to be our companion. Our life is [quoteright]changed at the fundament. We see our fellows through slightly suspicious eyes. "You're not coming, are you?" is the question which wrinkles foreheads and grays our hair. Perversely, they appear as though they intend to go on living, paying little heed to what we do. It is not a matter which stirs jealousy, only a feeling of wonder. A recognition that indeed, it all does end and an amazing amount of life's concerns are valueless. What is there to comfort us? Faith. Yes, simple Faith that for mortal death to be the end of things is cosmically nonsensical.
I am a Christian and I see the world through those eyes. Yet I have no doubt that Buddhists and Moslems and Hindus and all people have a sense of "something" beyond life and death. There is not much to be afraid of other than one's own weakness and uncertainty. Death seems natural and we should approach it so, early on. If my love as a parent is an indication of the love of my maker for me, then I am confident of the future.
The idea that I am a random assembling of carbon atoms seems silly to me. Of course there is truth in all that, but surely I am something more, else what makes my hand to scratch these words?
Do I have all the answers to all these questions? Of course not, nor do I need them to be comfortable. My daughter, in my arms, trusted me without concept of question. It is upon me to do the same. In truth, I am not alone.
James C. Holaday
JAMES C. HOLADAY is one of our recruits from the Mensa Writer's SIG. He lives in Henderson, TN, which he describes as a "town with one stop light and two barbers."