Tag: God

The silence of the dead is deafening

When I was twelve years old I rode my bike twenty miles to sit at my brother’s grave. I talked to him through the earth. I asked him if he could hear me.

He was my older brother, twenty-four when he died on the side of the road, his head cradled in the arms of his best friend. His best friend had been driving the car and took a bend in the road too fast.

I have never received an answer from my brother.

When I was in my forties I sat on a balcony in Miami and asked my son (a Star Trek fan) to send me a signal from space, a sign that he was aware in some unknown dimension or otherworld or æthereal state of wave-being.

He was twenty-three when he swallowed enough barbiturates to kill himself three times over.

I have never received a signal from my son.

Now I am in my seventies and I sit in an armchair in the living room—now known as the dead room—of my bungalow on County Road 9 and pray to my wife to send me a sign that she can hear me, anything will do I tell her, the slightest hint, the briefest sensation, the merest brush of some sort of presence of her spirit.

For a day and a night I sat at her bedside in Intensive Care and held her hand in mine. She was deeply unconscious but her hand was warm in mine. I took that as a sign of life, of hope. I sat there for hours. Her hand grew cold.

I am still in the dead room, praying for a sign from my wife, a glimmer of hope that she is aware in some empyrean sphere.

My hope-beyond-hope spiritual longings appear to be hopeless. I conclude from these futile attempts to commune with the dead that if you wait long enough, nothing happens.

The road to God becomes a road to hell

Let me tell you what happened on the road to God. 

I was a hitchhiker on the side of a dark highway, looking for the road to God, not even knowing if there was such a road — the desperation of the bereaved.

The truck was an oil tanker. My shadowy figure must have spooked the driver. He swerved violently, delivering me a glancing blow and sending me spinning across the shoulder of the road. The truck slammed into the concrete pilon of an overpass. The tanker exploded. It was an inferno. The driver was incinerated.

First responders described the scene as “sheer hell.”

I was taken to a local hospital, and from my hospital bed I watched the horror replayed on the eleven o’clock news.

The truck driver was a young man with a wife and three kids in Memphis. I am an old man who was selfishly searching for an unknown and probably nonexistent entity just so I could possibly be with my wife again.

The tragedy that befell the young truck driver and his family was so grotesquely unfair and unjust that I vowed never to venture on that road again.

I will be haunted by the guilt of his death until I die, but there is nothing I can do to change the tragedy of that night. All I can do now is give up my selfish, and let’s face it, pointless search for God.

Now I stay inside the hallowed confines of my bungalow on County Road 9. Hallowed because it contains the memory of my wife, the photos on the mantel, her dresses still hanging in the closet, her writing materials undisturbed on the desk, all of her belongings still intact. Nothing has been changed or removed.

This is where I will live out my days. This is my life. And this is my death.

‘A Trapeze to God or to Some Sort of Eternity.’

The young poet filled a paper cup with water in his room at the end of the corridor of the halfway house. He locked the door. It was Friday, October 28, one o’clock in the afternoon.

He swallowed several capsules of two powerful barbiturates, secobarbital and amobarbital, enough to kill himself three times over.

He stepped into the closet and placed a blue blanket on the floor. He closed the closet door and lay down on his right side, making himself as comfortable as possible on the blanket, his right hand under his head. In his left hand he held a small stuffed panda bear.

He closed his eyes and let the drugs do their stuff. 

He went spinning off into oblivion.

His body was discovered the next day, Saturday. 

On top of the chest of drawers were several poems he had written throughout his teenage years, one containing the line, ‘The only way anyone ever died was alone.’

With the poems was an essay he had written earlier that week entitled, ‘The Supernatural — Does it Exist?’  

There was one other thing on top of the chest of drawers — a copy of a short story collection by William Saroyan titled ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’ 

The book was face down, open near the end of the first story: 

‘He accepted the thought of dying without pity for himself… Through the air on the flying trapeze, his mind hummed. Amusing it was, astoundingly funny. A trapeze to God, or to nothing, a flying trapeze to some sort of eternity; he prayed for strength to make the flight with grace.’

The coroner put the time death at three o’clock on Friday afternoon. The young poet was nineteen.


The Supernatural: Does It Exist?

Does the supernatural exist? To begin with, the word supernatural suggests a concept that is basically unsound: the idea that anything which we perceive could be more or less than “natural”: that anything in existence could be other than natural is obviously a pointless proposition. What we term natural is nothing but the whole of existence: the only context for anything that manifests itself, through whatever set of dynamics.

We are natural beings and anything that our senses perceive or that our feelings and thinking can relate itself to can only be also natural. It is an old and common mistake to blame our own inability to supply an explanation for something on some imagined area of reality where that explanation is withheld and something exists only “in itself.” Such a vacuum of unreality has nothing to do with a rational perspective.

There is no “other side” to reality but madness or nothingness. There is also an almost limitless amount of the human experience that remains unexplained and unresolved. What some call the supernatural shouldn’t be allowed to suggest to us “another reality” colliding with “our own.” The so-called supernatural should only remind us of how much we still have left to discover about the internal dynamic and the rational meaning of all things.