THE QUESTION: Do you believe there is an afterlife, and why?
I’m just not sure how it would work.
No. I like the idea the people I love, now dead, have an eye on what I do. But it’s my story composed to make me feel better when they’re gone. I revere the environment. I like the live green leaves, going crimson and gold, then decomposing underfoot. I can’t imagine animals so finely evolved to their habitat they survive in brutal conditions are less worthy of a god’s beneficence. There is a great glory to live a robust life, then fall and become part of the soil to grow more sustenance for more animals, insects, birds and plants. That is a marvelous circle.
I understand faith can be a comfort, but I would rather have faith in our stories told while we live, than the tale told about after we die. There is too much pain to make me feel any omniscient wonder is in charge, and there to welcome us all into some splendor. Not when we walk obliviously past reminders there is too much work to be done here on Earth.
The people closest to me who have died, live enshrined in my heart.
To me, they are indwelling perched somewhere in the neighborhood of the aorta. That sounds extremely silly, but still, stripped of that comfort, how else might I make sense of loss?
When I was a young cynical teen, it was quite common to declare “Religion is a crutch.” I never felt the need to be cool and nihilistic though. I could see that hard as life was, a crutch could be useful.
I was more agnostic than atheist. That continues to this day and any observance of my Roman Catholic religion lies in the distant past.
So, now I am more inclined to consider the laws of physics when I look for the comfort of an afterlife.
Nothing is created or destroyed. Not matter, not energy. Therefore, the sweet loving kindness of my mother must persist in this universe or another, my father’s questing curiosity, the searching of my brothers for wholeness through art and music.
I am sure I can feel it in my heart and in the beauty of the night sky.
That is my crutch.