Light at the edge of darkness
When I forget that I am but one seven billionth of my species on the planet that life itself has existed for more than a few days, it is easy to get endlessly caught up in the pursuit of immortality.
As are the other 7 billion.
Can it not be said that at some point in life we all seek to be identified?
Why would that be?
Perhaps the most innate nature in us all is to be recognized.
In some way.
For some thing.
But by who?
Our peers? This would explain the chaos in our pursuit to amass …stuff.
Doesn’t that kinda foreshadow sharing immortality with your stuff?
Many, seek immortality in the memories of loved ones. Could it be that this is why we say that family is all that really matters?
In the end our children bring with them whatever they can leverage from our folly to move beyond.
Others, will seek the immortality of a reputation. Years doing their life’s work behind the scenes or at the spearhead, inevitably result in the observation and assessment of others.
That sometimes unspoken definition of one is all that survives their passing.
Leadership, tenacity, unsurpassed work ethic are all environment specific recognition.
Therein is the problem with attempting to seek relevance beyond a lifespan based on reputation.
This kind of focus limits the true life of one human to only one dimension.
It’s no wonder we seek the fountain of youth….figuring out the path to extending life is hard work, it’s way easier fooling ourselves with boltons and Botox that we are not actually aging.
Upon reflection the whole immortality thing is complex. I mean the mere fact that more and more people are dying every day means achieving memorability is an increasingly competitive market.
My father went to the enlistment office in Montreal on his 18th birthday.
Was the obvious choice of question from an inquisitive 13 year old. I had seen enough of the Vietnam war on the nightly news to know that it was not a fun thing.
Also, I wanted to know everything about the life choices my dad made…why he did what he did.
And for his part he always did share.
He was always transparent with me. When he felt the query wasn’t an age appropriate question he was clear to set boundaries. He always did his best to spare me the gory details but when asked he would tell me what he knew. And so, in his shares I learned.
“Because it was the thing to do. To be of service to my country.“
That was it.
My father had his deployment averted by an injury, days before his departure. He never got overseas.
I was thinking about that, today with Remembrance Day occurring tomorrow.
Those who gave the greatest possible “service to their countries” not only achieve immortality on a given day, but moreover in our very actions and expressions. Their service allows us to be who we are and perhaps achieve our potential.
That sounds a little like the objective of immortality – no?
If we are tirelessly of service to others (let alone a country) will we not live on in the hearts and actions of others?
Contrarily if we focus on ourselves and all that we can acquire how will we be remembered by the inanimate objects that are the object of our desire?
It would seem to me that rocket surgery is not required to discern that our best shot to live on in the hearts and minds of those who will outlive our physical existence here, is to leave them feeling supported in their path.
I remember the really hard times but moreover I feel the hope and encouragement I received from those who stepped in shoulder to shoulder and offered me a companion, guide or rescue.
Those feelings I am sure will outlast my memories and in those feelings I root my stories to those around me of the men and women who will remain immortal in me, and I hope in the feelings I transfer to those close to me.
Lest we Forget.