Whose Mortality Is It Anyway?
Let’s get right to it: I’m afraid of dying. I turned 24 yesterday. Should a 24 -year-old be contemplating his own death the day after his birthday? The answer is probably no, but here I am: unashamedly ironic. Fearful. Anxious. Unconvinced. All at the low, low age of 24.
For the last couple of years — since about 21 and on — the reality of death has really started to settle in on me. It is unknown. It is different. It is… weird. And, I don’t know that my fear lies solely in death, but rather in eternity. No matter what happens in life, what is real or what is figment, there is one certainty: there’s an expiration date. And with that expiration date comes eternity. Whether it is eternity of an afterlife or oblivion is unknown. But it’s coming. And it terrifies me.
When I think of the end, I unfortunately do not think of there being an afterlife. “But, Chad, aren’t you a Christian?” Well, yeah. In spirit. I am rooting for God. I want God to be real with every ounce of me. But I do not want to delude myself. And my mind refuses to allow me to fully embrace an afterlife when the unknown that comes with the end of life is exactly that: unknown. I can say to myself that I will see the face of God over and over, but for every 99 times I say it, there’s the one time where something else in my mind says, “But what if you’re wrong?” And I hate that, but then I think, “Well… you could be right, brain, this could all be a façade.”
This isn’t my atheistic coming out party. Stay with me.
As I grow older (I know — I’m only 24) and learn more about the world, life — simply put — amazes me. Oceans, trees, bees, flowers, freaking FOOD(!!!), beer(!!!!), I’ll even throw in technology… To say that the world just happened is crazy. More than that: to say that the universe just happened is crazy. But to say that God created all of this and loves us all, and that the God who created the universe wants to hear us speak to him through prayer, and actually — get this —CARES about our THOUGHTS, is also crazy. But I want that. I want that to be a reality. So I live like that. And I get feelings from that. Feelings that seem inexplicable. But then those thoughts creep in again. I don’t want to think all of this has no meaning — but sometimes I kind of do. And I’m here to say I think that’s okay.
This is doubt. This is what all of the speakers have talked about at your church camp worship sessions, and your monthly “deep” Sunday night youth groups. It is pervasive, it is eerie, and it is multifaceted. Some days it’ll pop by for a second and be easily diminished, and other times it will linger for weeks. It is ugly. It is damaging. It is seemingly stubborn, unyielding. But it is okay. That doubt may never go away. But don’t let it keep you from chasing those crazy things. This isn’t even just about faith anymore. Don’t let your doubts hold you back from anything. Don’t let the “Yeah, but”s keep you from achieving what you believe to be achievable. And lastly — my main point — don’t let your doubts keep you from chasing the King of Kings; The Lord of Lords; The Lion & The Lamb; The Way, The Truth, & The Life; Jesus friggin’ Christ, y’all. No matter what may come of all of this, I know that these feelings I get must have some weight to them. I am a man of faith. I pray, I read, I listen… And I screw up A LOT, too. But God has grace for me.
*cue Dumbledore quote about death*
“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” — Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumblebore
In the end, everyone does it. Everyone dies. There’s a beauty in that. And whatever happens in the “final frontier” that is the end of life, I’m glad to have lived it chasing after Christ. Thanks.