Sunday, June 29, 2008

What a sweet and quiet weekend Bob and I have had! We have had no visitors of any age and no scheduled or social activities. We did go to the grocery store and the bead store and have been listening to music and watching an amazing amount of quality video. We are more than half way through War and Peace now and expect to get the four of the five discs on Tuesday. The story is so rich and the characters and their circumstances so compelling, it's blth hard to watch them struggle and suffer and hard to wait to see what will happen next.

Questions. Mary asks, "Do you believe in an afterlife?" This one has been hard for me too, like Ruth's last question, and I've been putting off answering. The answer seems more importnat to many people than it is to me. I remember a quote from John Adam's (who did believe in an afterlife) which was addressed to Thomas Jefferson (who did not). Mr Adams said something to the effect that, if he was right, he and Mr. Jefferson would meet in Heaven and Mr. Jefferson would be surprised, but if he was wrong, no harm would be done because neither of them would be around to notice. The intellectual part of me believes that it doesn't make difference in terms of how I live today and what I choose to do whether my personality or my soul continue after death and in what form. The point is to do the next right thing, NOW.

However, my personal experience points to the presence of an afterlife which does allow for the continuation of personality. This is what Kerry seemed to experience a few days before his death in a vision which he shared with me. I know some people believe this sort of vision is actually a hallucination caused by dying brain cells. I only know it seemed one of the most real experiences I have ever shared with anyone and brought both of us deep peace and courage. I also have had experiences in which I feel I've seen some of my beloved dead, especially Kerry and my Grandma Anna in very real ways after their deaths. I don't know what form I believe after life takes, and have also had experiences which are consistent with reincarnation. I don't know how all the pieces and concepts fit together. It is not so important to me, though the sense of continuing connection with my beloved dead is a comfort.

Bob's second question is an easier one, so I will answer it tonight after two hard ones in a row. He asked "What are the two (or three or four) qualities in your Dad that you most admire?"

1. Daddy loved learning about how the world works and was always eager to discover the mysteries of the universe. He approached learning with courage, openness and eagerness, and never stopped learning.

2. Daddy understood and was able to teach me that living according to one's own passions, values and sense of mission is more important than pleasing people, being conventional and acceptable, or attaining worldy success.

3. Daddy was introspective and honest with himself and could apologize when wong.

4. Daddy was wonderfully playful and loving - he had great hugs and tickles for me when I was little, balloons in the filing cabinet drawer, wonderful word play later and the perfect compliments as I was growing up. He let me know he loved me, let me know he was proud of me.

Update: This morning I read some blog entries that reminded me of the difficult period when Mama was increasingly combative and crazed with dementia and I remembered the quality of Daddy's which I learned most about during those years and which may be the most precious of all, the capacity for deep, loyal and abiding love.


Mary said...

Thanks for answering my question on your belief in an afterlife. I do believe and can understand John Adams' perspective.

It was interesting to read about Kerry's vision a few days before he died which seemed to point to an afterlife....

You said < I don't know how all the pieces and concepts fit together. It is not so important to me, though the sense of continuing connection with my beloved dead is a comfort.
> I feel the same about continuing connection. I have the strong feeling I WILL see my deceased parents, etc. again.

Peggy said...

What an interesting question from Mary about the afterlife.

My personal belief about any sort of heaven is that we are no more or less than highly evolved animals of all kinds, and so any afterlife belief I have has to include all the rest of life as well.

I would LIKE to think I will see my loved ones again or have some kind of continuing connection. What I believe however is that life is so complex in ways we cannot even conceive of that it will not be like what anyone can imagine.

I do NOT think that any of the traditional ideas about afterlife are impossible. I really just do not know.

I do sometimes talk to my dead loved ones in my own mind. And perhaps that is how they survive--as energy connections in the brains of living people. Who can know.

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