Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Our inherent power

Hearing that someone we know kicked the bucket invariably seems to drive us into an ocean of questions, questions that we anxiously direct towards ourselves. When a life is gone, we invariably think about our lives and the damages that would occur (if any) in our absence--it might seem selfish or inconsiderate to think about our still-present life upon hearing the loss of another, but it really is not. We exist via the presence of others; our living is dependent on the others acknowledging or noticing that we exist. Therefore, to lose a person we know is, in some sense, to lose a part of our definition, and so we have become so fearful of the “D” word. To talk about the “D” word is to be morbid…

Why are we so fearful of "The end"? Is it because life can sometimes be like reading a really good book, which we imbibe in bits, savoring each page, delaying reading further ahead, and rereading certain parts, because we are not ready to see the story end? Alternatively, is it that we are socially wired to think about tomorrow, to plan for many tomorrows, so the idea of being denied a tomorrow is a kind of death?

Is our "tomorrow mentality" adequately beneficial? Does it explain our intense fear of "the end"? Even the most incredibly entertaining book must eventually end. Sometimes, the greatness of something is best (or only) realized after it is gone. What would life be like if we were to have a "today mentality" coated with a layer of hope for tomorrow? Maybe if we didn’t command tomorrow to come to us, if we didn't demand it as if it were our right, then when tomorrow fails to come, we wouldn't be in shock or panic. When we hear of “D’s” knocking, it shouldn’t require a dramatic change in our daily way of living, there shouldn't be much in the room for regret, and so on, as we see in Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifa.

Life does not exist in tomorrow; it exists in the now. Life is valuable while we have it, and it is justified to feel sorrow when it is lost. Consequently, it is good to be aware that it will be lost—and our decisions about life should be informed by this awareness, so that we would be prepared, come what may.

As an aside, I think it is also good to remember that our lives are made complete with the awareness and acknowledgment of others. When we abuse, injure or otherwise despise another life, we partake in rendering that life relatively meaningless--an unacknowledged or respected life is a murdered life. I do not mean to make my readers uncomfortable. It is just sad to see, in the course of even just a few hours, the devaluation of populations of the living even as we fear "the end." How so often we choose to ignore the power (of influence, for example) that we have over others’ lives--the power to make better or to make worse. Certainly, we have to take responsibility for our own lives, but there is no denying that in the movie about our individual lives, we are only one of the characters.

I promise that my next post (God-willing) will be a bit less serious. It is going to be about books we love.

I hope you have an enjoyable day.

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At 19/8/06 12:23 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Hello Rosemary...

Just a little note to tell you how much I enjoy your writing.

I came across your site by "accident". A friend of mine, Uzor Nwoko, started up a fresh fruit and vegetable business (first in Nashville, now in Fort Worth (and expanding rapidly). I keep telling him he's going to become the "Bill Gates of fruit".

He called his company OBIM and his website I finally asked him what "obim" meant and discovered that it's the Nigerian word for heart. I had forgotten his website and plunked in "OBIM" and that's how I discovered your site. Now his website just shows "Under Construction"... I'm going to have to go after him -- he is not a computer "geek".

In about 3 weeks (if I make it) I'll be 60. Where did time go?

When I was YOUNG, all the OLD people were telling me what to do. Now I'm OLD and all the YOUNG people are telling me what to do. What happened?

You keep "writin'" and I'll keep "readin'".

You are going to be a great doctor.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
"Home of Winnie, the Pooh"

At 22/8/06 1:30 PM, Blogger Rosemary Esehagu said...

Hello, Paul.

Thank you for your comment. It is such a great story about how you found my site, and I am glad that you enjoy reading my work.

Wow, you are almost 60! It is a fortune to be able to live for as long as you have—you get to experience more of what life has to offer, to be intimately involved in many people’s lives, to amass wisdom, and so on.

Here is to wishing you a happy birthday and many years that are more wonderful than you have previously experienced.


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