Life is a journey towards death. All roads lead to their inevitable end, and we the travelers move each day one step closer to the termination of the path we call life. Some of the roads we walk are long, turning and twisting along their way, while others are a direct path to that final resting place. No man knows his time, but still we walk these lonely paths hoping that somehow the fog in the distance will fall away and reveal an endless horizon and not abruptly drop off into the abyss.
Each day we get up and move, filled with the worries of the day, and never thinking that this, this might be the final one. The last day on Earth. If you knew your journey was drawing to a close, would you rush into it, prepared for whatever is after? Would you look back with longing and regret for all the time spent hurrying down the path of life without taking time to appreciate the scenery? Would you wish for one more day, for the hardest and most painful day in your life, if it meant staving off the shadow that is waiting ahead? Could you die happy?
Every life is different, and those that follow a true course are few. Most of the time we are entangled in the roots, fighting through the bracken, burdened with the weight of all that we carry. And all the while, new problems sprout before us with each step that we take. We search for peace, crave a resting place where we can be who who we were meant to be instead of letting the woes of life define us. Yet we are as slaves to our destiny. Sojourns are few. There is no stopping along the way. Even when you lay down in defeat, inertia will carry you towards your destination.
“We must drag the chain and ball of our personality to the end. This is the price one pays for the infernal and divine privilege of thought; so in this life it is only the chosen who are convicts—a glorious band which understands and groans but which treads the earth amidst a multitude of phantoms with maniacal gestures and idiotic grimaces. Which would you rather be: idiot or convict?“
Is this the reality we must accept? Are we cursed to be who we are, defined only within the limitations of the shackles which hamper our struggle towards self? Can a convict carry freedom in his heart? And if ignorance is bliss, is it not better to play the fool?
Some hope for something beyond these weary roads. Clinging to a belief that is no more real than a wisp of vapor in the evaporating dew. With certainty they take their steps, secure in the knowledge that something better is to come. There is nothing better, no hereafter, no eternal splendor. Just a cold dark rest.
“Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of to-morrow….
In this world—as I have known it—we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt….
There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that… is always but a vain and fleeting appearance….
A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains—but a clod of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.“
Oh the hopelessness of man! Shall we throw up our hands in despair? Perhaps those who choose when and where their path ends are the only ones who are truly free, taking the power of God into their hands in one final, defiant, selfish act. They have seized their own destiny, while we are held prisoner to ours.
No, I say! This is not an act of defiance, or empowerment, but one of despair. The man who takes his own life does so because he cannot accept what he cannot change. Grant me serenity.
All the things we make in life, the structures of our being, stand still on the side of the road, stretching back to where we began. As we move forward, these things crumble and disappear into the ether. Relationships and careers and hopes and dreams, we will one day let them go. When these things are gone, when these markers of our life fade and dissolve, they are gone forever. Even if remembered the recollection is just a phantom copy of what was. All will pass, and when it does, it will cease to be real. The things we make and that make us are predestined to become part of the nothing that we all will pass into.
“What makes mankind tragic is not that they are the victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it“
And that is the way it should be. Our purpose is not a live forever. Nor is it to leave a legacy, for even great men will one day be forgotten. Our only purpose in this world, is to make what we can of it with the time we are given, be it a day or an eternity. Taking ones life in one’s hands defies that purpose. It is a curse.
While we are here, it is upon us to live each day to the fullest. We must sometimes set aside the cares of the day, stop fighting the obstacles we encounter. Look ahead. The path may be shadowed and uncertain, but all around us is beauty if we choose to behold it. Even painful things can be precious, because it makes us feel. We need to be reminded that living is all we are doing, and what will be will be. Que sera sera. So look up. The sun smiles on us all. The stardust above was scattered across the blanket of night only for us to behold.
Live while you are alive. Find happiness within. Be content with the path laid before you. Each breath is a precious gift, an opportunity to create the peace you seek. Every day should be a celebration of life.
“Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, doth greatly please“