I stand in awe of the soulful talent of First Aid Kit.The song fills some sort of musical hole in my being. Well done, ladies. Well done…
Posts Tagged With: spirit
Life is a hunter, and it preys on death.
We tend to think of this the other way around, but one of the simplest observable truths is that as soon as something dies living things begin their work of turning it back into life again. Death may stalk life, but life stalks it right back.
I sat in a tree this evening to hunt. My purpose was to take a life.
Not for fun, for I find no joy in the actual death of any living thing, and certainly not in being the one bringing about that death. To thoughtfully hunt is one of the more sobering things a person will ever do. But I know death is part of life, and that all animals (and even a few plants) kill to sustain themselves, for even herbivores must kill the cells in the plants they consume to obtain their nutrients. So I sat in a tree with a bow and arrows in the hope of being quite directly and personally involved in this sacred circle that sustains all creatures.
I did not have long to wait. After only a short period of time, three deer passed near me, but not near enough for me to take a clean shot. I have no desire to merely wound an animal and see it suffer. If I shoot, I want to be as certain as I can the animal will feel no needless pain. I want–no I need–a clean shot for a clean kill. If I am going to consciously join this dance, I owe the animals that much and so much more–for the animal will help to sustain me.
Shortly after the first three deer passed, two more approached. I drew my bow on the first and my arrow flew true. The doe ran only a short distance. I felt sad and thankful and deeply a part of something wild to the point of scary. On reaching her, I thanked her and told her I was sorry. That she could live on in me perhaps. I stroked her fur and felt her beauty and wildness. I thanked the earth from which she sprang and the Maker of all things–for the food, for the experience, for my own earthy life which one day too will end.
I will butcher the deer myself. She will be truly honest food for me and mine. I will not take one bite without thinking of her. Of her living and of her dying and of my part in both–and of both our parts in the larger story of life on earth. Much of that story is the ceaseless hunt. Death stalking life and life stalking death. Life is a hunter. Today, so was I.
The present. The only life we actually possess. Regardless of spiritual persuasion the life that counts is right now.
I have become a person reluctant to speak in absolutes. There is just so much more to what I don’t know than what I do. So both humility and reality encourage care in the the choice of words, and absolute words easily stray beyond that care into recklessness. But I speak absolutely today about living the life we have been given in each moment we are given it.
Everyone has a worldview, and everyone’s worldview contains an element of faith. By that, I mean only that we interpret our experiences and knowledge and are forced to say “I believe” about a great many things. There are things we can’t “know” in the same sense we know things by experiencing them. Even history is an exercise in faith–I believe a person called “George Washington” existed though I have never met him and cannot absolutely prove the evidence for him isn’t an elaborate hoax (wouldn’t THAT be a hoot!).
Even so, amidst this uncertainty, I remain convinced the life we have right now is what matters most. Not the life we have had–gone into glory or gloom and never to be recouped. Nor the the glory or gloom we might have at some uncertain point in this life or the next. But the life we have right now. Today. This hour. This moment.
Every person who reads this will have a history–some good stuff and some bad. If much of that history is negative, will it then become our present and then become our destiny? Will we be ruled by the hurts of history? So much of the world is in slavery to what has been. How needless this is. How much suffering it causes.
Every person who reads this will believe something about a life beyond this place. Some will believe it exists, some will believe it doesn’t. Some will be unsure which way the evidence points. What all these perspectives have in common is right now. Right now matters if you don’t believe in something beyond this place because this is literally the only life you will ever have. This is your golden ticket. Mark the cosmos constructively now with your presence–with your passion and compassion–because there are no “do overs”. As Andy DuFrame said in The Shawshank Redemption, get busy living or get busy dying.
Maybe you do believe there is something beyond this place–if so I am with you–I envision a life beyond. But it pains me greatly when I see so many who believe in something beyond just treading water here. Waiting for a glory to come without thought to the fact that right now is the starting point to everything that will be. Transcendent glory must be tasted now to be devoured later. If there is a next life, surely the trajectory of this life will determine the destination in that one. So, are we busy living or busy dying? Loving or fearing? Trudging or triumphing?
Or maybe you haven’t a decided position. Is death a wall or hall? What does it matter? The moment still stands. Now. The life you have. We humans are so different in outlook and understanding, but this great truth binds us all–life comes to each exactly the same way. Some of us seize the day we have and become fully alive. Some of us don’t, or won’t. And that will make all the difference.