It’s a question that I’ve learned over the last few years that is not one that can really add any value to life at the moment or moving toward the future. That said, sometimes it’s really hard not to ask that question.
It just hit me that, when I was younger, I remember sometimes thinking to myself things like this: “Man, I hope that when we die, all these mysteries of the universe will be answered for us, and we’ll know how & why we are all here.” It was the child-like hope that we would be lifted up into heaven to be ‘educated’ by God of his master plan for everything. That all the ‘unknowns’ that we have in life will suddenly be revealed and all of a sudden everything would make sense.
In pondering this today, it struck me that maybe this is why I didn’t try so hard to learn when I was younger. I basically skated through school, doing just the minimum to pass. I didn’t really care about learning (even though, I really did enjoy thinking about the universe and the ‘big questions’). I basically blew off college…twice. (until I was married and realized that convenience store work wasn’t going to cut it, and then I went to Tech School). I just never really had the desire to know things deeply (and took a lot of things as truth based on authority).
Now, I realize that whatever there is to be learned by our brains, needs to be done within our lifetimes. I feel a bit like I missed out on so much potential because I was under the assumption that all would be revealed after death. Man, that is so disappointing to know how wrong that was now.
I’m going to have to accept this and move along in the right direction going forward, but I have a feeling that this is going to always be eating at me. I hate to focus on ‘what if?’ questions, but that is a BIG ‘what if?’ in this case. Regret is too harsh of a word. I don’t regret my life now. I love my life now. I just feel like I could have done so much more had I had a different worldview 20 years ago when I could do something with it. Now, I find myself basically trapped in a career that’s just OK. I’m a network engineer. And while, I know I’m providing a service to the world, I find myself feeling that I’m not making enough of a difference. It’s a thankless job. And usually, it’s quite the opposite…someone complaining that something isn’t working or that something was done wrong.
At this point in my life, I don’t see any way of moving toward something different. I always joke (well, semi-joke) with my wife that I want to be a Park Ranger. Being outside all the time would be incredible. But I do try to step back and see how even that, after a while, could become monotonous and boring. So, who knows? Maybe this is all a ‘rite of passage’ for people in my current age group. Maybe this is just what we all start doing at this point in our lives. We look back and analyze the right and wrong decisions. Try to imagine how life could or would have been different. And then hopefully can find a way to accept our current situation, be happy, and move on in a positive direction.
With any luck, soon I will find a way to avoid that question.
Rechelle @ My Sister’s Farmhouse is a recent convert to Atheism. She spent many years as a fundamentalist Christian. I discovered her blog only a few days ago, but have been enjoying it immensely since then.
She has a new post that I think is just awesome. She goes through and apologizes to all the various groups that she feels she has wronged through her years as a Christian. Here’s a couple that I found particularly great:
1. I apologize to all the homosexuals. I am sorry that I believed in a religion that condemns you. I am sorry that for many years I thought that the bible was right in it’s condemnation of homosexuality. I am sorry that when I no longer thought the bible was right about homosexuality being a sin, I did not raise a gigantic stink about it every Sunday right in the middle of the sermon… week after week after week… until the church issued a restraining order against me and I could no longer come within a hundred feet of the sanctuary.
7. Finally, I apologize for allowing my faith to numb my response to the problems of the world. So when there was injustice, or crime, or pain, or hunger, or illness, or ignorance, or war, or greed, or tyranny, or slavery or abuse, or addiction, or pollution, or natural disasters – I believed that god was taking care of it and I didn’t really have to do anything… (except pray). Because it was god’s will… and god was using these bad things to teach me compassion… or patience… or that satan was ‘the ruler of this world’… or that we should forgive… or god was ‘perfecting’ us… or ‘disciplining’ us. (Boy! god sure disciplines the hell out of Africa doesn’t he?) I was taught that all you have to do to get into ‘heaven’ is accept Jesus as your savior. You can do good things if you want, but good deeds are not getting your ass into heaven. So why would I bother helping out? My ass was already saved!
All in all, I am really loving her writing style and look forward to keeping up with her blog ongoing. (Adding her to my blog roll right now)