Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Friday, April 13, 2012
I kept this post in drafts since late last year.
I've been editing it here and there at times, renewing it and refreshing it to the current point of time I've been in. But I never posted it, partly because I never managed to finish it, and partly because I didn't think there was a proper time to publish it so far. Yeah, I know that I make really random blog posts sometimes that fit nowhere with my current events in life, directly or indirectly. But this, for some reason never had me publishing it.
Today, however, I think it's fitting. Not for the best reason, but because I think its apt. Earlier today a friend (considering this is sensitive, I'll leave out the name, although if you know my groups of friends, this should be pretty easy to guess) called me asking if I was free on Sunday to go to her friend's gravestone. He just died earlier today and he has been a close friend of hers since her birth, they both suffered from thalassemia and went for transfusions together regularly. When she called me she was fine, but a while later she called me again, sobbing, because she needed someone to talk to. I just said simple words of encouragement, but there really wasn't much I could say to comfort. She was scared that her friend had been perfectly fine a few days earlier, and he died so suddenly. Suddenly she feared for her life. She didn't want to die so suddenly, despite being macho a few years back telling my group of friends that she wasn't going to live very long in the first place. I think that was said in a state of mind where things were fine. Now that a harsh, sudden reality has hit, perhaps she's going through her true emotions; of what she'd really feel when death is possibly near. And this is the cause; the main reason for posting this now. Read on.
So, like I've said many times before, I really don't think much if I were to suddenly die. I wouldn't be begging for my life, worrying about what to achieve, what else I could've done, but I'd be more like "Aye, that's it?". Yeah... something along the lines of "Oh well".
If I know I'm going to die with certainty, there's really no point trying to cry and argue. I'll just let it happen. And if I really do believe in my God, I would also believe that He has the best plan for my life as well. And despite the apparent absurdity in it, this death somehow means that. This has led me to say that I really don't care much about health, life and longevity, and to just enjoy life now, without worrying so much. I've also told my friends many times that I don't really care if I die, and thus I don't fear death. "I don't care if I die" is something I've said so many times. And I mean it. I've faced death quite a few times. I've seen it upclose. It doesn't give me the same kind of shivers I see so many have. I'm not saying I want to actively end my life. Long over are my days where I was depressed and suicidal. I'm now content with life, content with the little I've done (compared to those with great success stories), and proud of who I am now. However, if the end of my life does come, I will embrace it. Faith can do that. And because I care little for my own life, I don't mind so much.
This pathetic care for my own life surprises a lot of people. Some of them wonder, aren't you a Christian? Aren't Christians supposed to value life? How can you say that? Aren't you afraid you might be wrong (regarding religion)? Yes, yes, I can, no. Yeah, I'm a Christian, a very devout one that goes to service every week, giving my tithes, helping out in charities, orphanages and elderly homes once in a while. I give to charity, and help strangers randomly sometimes. I offer my seat on the buses and LRT to those who need it. I value life, and I persuade those who want to take their life to think again. Having been through that, I know more or less the correct words to say. But does it affect whether I value my own life? I guess not. Despite being devout, a part of my depressed self still remains as this idea, or more correctly, this mindset that I don't care about my own life. If God were to one day ask me to sacrifice my life for someone I didn't know, I would, without a thought. This ignores the hypothetical part of me asking what this guy will do, whether he'll murder or commit serious sins. And yes, Christians do value life. It's one of the reasons why they're so opposed to abortion, as they take a fetus as an actual life. I do value life. And I value the life of the 7 billion people in this world more than mine. And regarding religion, am I worried I might be wrong? Hardly. My faith in God is very strong and credibly backed up. In the very slight chance I'm wrong, let's assume the major religions of the world. In Judaism, following the 7 Laws of Noah will ensure you enter heaven. Those laws are more or less moral rules and treating your neighbour correctly; kinda stuff. In Islam, the People of the Book, Jews and Christians will enter heaven too, although there's debates on what kind of specific afterlife we'll get. As for the reincarnation religions, I'll be reborn anyway, so we'll let them judge how good of a life I lived here. And as for the religions that ensure you need to do good works, I've got that well-covered, at least to my own limited knowledge. In every sense, I'm not worried if I'm wrong. And I am quite assured I am not wrong anyway. So no, I have no fears there.
That isn't my main point though. Quite a few months ago Nikke said something that gave me pause. It actually stumped me for quite a long time. Somehow we got into this topic of death, and I said what I always say when talking about the value of my own life "I don't really care if I die". Then she said "Awww, what about us? We'll miss you." It echoed the sentiments of other friends who brought this up later. While the rest were not so direct, they all basically meant the same thing. "What about us?"
Now, I pride myself on being very well versed in words and speech. I know how to talk and present quickly and clearly. I know how to make quick comebacks to insults. I know how to blast people very efficiently, and I know how to counter jokes in humour. I also know how to debate very well and give my points properly. And I've long explained, in the best terms I can, why I don't value my life. I see it as a morbid remnant from my depressed past, that remains as this. However, Nikke's question took me completely off guard, and I didn't quite know how to answer. Such a simple question, yet I couldn't answer it. The question rang in my head for months, and I kept arguing with myself. Giving reasons why I had every right to throw my life away. And then arguing with myself again why I needed to care about my friend's concerns of me being around. I kept at it for months, sometimes out the blue coming out with an argument from one side, and hours, days, or weeks later coming with a comeback against that prior argument. It was funny and stupid. But it was an important topic too.
So what's my conclusion? I'll get on to that. But first, I need to see, why are so many people saying this? Why do people value me that much? Yeah, okay, when it comes to intelligence and words, I can understand, but there's plenty of smart jerks with acid tongues. My pride on my intelligence and words does not extend to other aspects of me people would consider virtuous. I'm not a saint. Hardly. Nearly all my friends have no idea of the charity work I do with the church, and sometimes, outside of church, so I shall ignore that. My friends don't become my friends because I help others in need. And they don't even know it in the first place. So what gives? I try to be there for my friends, although sometimes I fail. I drink a lot, and get drunk sometimes. That's not saintly. I viciously blast people with my words, when the Bible tells me to turn the other cheek. Sure, I may not be a horrible person, but I've never felt that I'm such a great person to deserve such good friends, with many I know would die for me; and I, for them. It's one of the reasons I thank God so much, for these kind of people. But its funny, because a lot of these friends of mine dislike the other good friends of mine. They wonder how I can be friends with someone like this, or that. Yet they are people who are extremely close to me, despite their animosity of one another. A lot of people ask me out to hang out, to chill, to introduce to new friends. I'm not boring, but neither am I the most interesting person in the world. What makes them want to bring me along to their friends? I myself like my friends to meet other friends, with varying degrees of success, because I don't care that much about their differences (until they start hating each other).
Also one thing that eludes me is the fact that a ton of people turn towards me for help; I'm often the first person they turn to in trouble and tough times. They think of me as a good person (please, I am hardly good). While I am honoured, I do not place myself as highly they do. Yet, a friend dies? I'm asked to visit the gravestone with her. A father dies? I'm asked to attend the funeral. A friend's friend who I never met before is in the hospital? I'm asked to be there. Need a place to stay urgently? My house. Broke up with the significant other? They call me, or tell me the full details. Need a chat or a shoulder? They ask for me I'm constantly honoured and in awe. Honoured for being someone so highly regarded, but also in awe because I don't see myself in that same light. It's quite a fascination. I was reading about how some people are so tired that they're taking in all their friends problems all the time, and that they simply just give up because their problem becomes solving their friends problems. And because they fail at a few, they give up. I myself sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of troubles my friends go through. And yet there I am, whenever I can; there for them. Logic keeps me sane because I know I will never be able to solve every single one of their problems, but I help when I can. It keeps me grounded in reality. And yet sometimes there's optimism that I can be there to solve quite a portion of things. So far, I have never given up hearing and shouldering all these burdens of my friends, because for one thing, I am honoured that I would be considered in the first place. Secondly, it is ultimately their problem to deal with. I am merely there to help, not to solve everything for them.
So despite me not seeing myself in the same light as a lot of my friends do, apparently I am highly regarded. Thank you very much for allowing me to be in that position.
So, now, what was my conclusion? I lost the argument.
Yeah, vague. But let me clarify. I still have very little value for my life, but I will not actively try to end my life. Therefore, the main part of "What about us" is solved, because I am not ending my life proactively, and therefore I can't help it if I die. However, I do realize the main part of their concern is how life would be without me. Honestly, it wouldn't be that different. Maybe for a while, but life always goes on. But I found an analogy that was amusing yet poignant. Imagine I stopped friends from coming over to my house to stay, and/or to drink. Now while I have every right to, it'd be selfish on my part, because it offers something to them, and yet I withhold it from them. It's selfish, despite me having no wrongs doing so. My friends could simply find a new place to drink or stay over. But it remains that I withheld what I could offer. This is how I see my life. If the time comes and I can end my life, I have every right to end it. It is my own life (I'm ignoring God in the picture here... that would be a whole other issue). But I'd be robbing my friends of company, a friend and whatever it is they value in me, since I don't quite know what they value in me sometimes. It's quite utilitarian I guess.
So I conclude with the final thought that ended this argument in my head. I myself don't place much value on my own life, so why should I be selfish and take it away for no reason, when other people treasure it more than me?