Death, Taxes, and Other Transitions

9 06 2013

Serene TreeSometimes I think life is about transitions. We are born, but only after growing from one cell to bazillions and then transitioning from the womb. Then we transition from umbilical cord to milk. Then from milk to soft foods. From soft to hard foods. We get ready for school…you get the point.

It doesn’t stop when we are mature though. We go to a party. It might be the best party in the world where we meet that special girl. But it’s a party that has a beginning and an end. We transition to the party and out again. We spend time getting children, getting ready for children, and then sending them off. If we live stuck in any one moment our whole lives, we miss the rest of life.

I used to think life was about productivity. My job was to…well…do my job and get results and build my empires. Now, I believe God didn’t make life that way. He never did.

Think of it this way. Knowing what I know now, High School would take like 3 weeks. Oh wait, maybe I needed to date a bit more or actually enjoy a few things, so maybe 20 weeks. Still, knowing what I know now, almost every productive thing in my life would have taken like 50% or less of the time. Building that dotcom back in the day would have taken 30% of the time knowing what I know now, maybe less. Learning to love my late wife the way a man should love his wife? 20% of the time. Everything, far less time. In retrospect, this seems rather inefficient if what God wants is productivity.

It’s like that saying:

“Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald.”  -Eastern Proverb

It seems like we “get it” only after we don’t need to get it anymore. Again, if God merely wanted our productivity like the humans who are farmed out like in The Matrix, this seems totally inefficient. If God just wanted our productivity (even spiritual productivity), why then wouldn’t God just dump wisdom in our minds, like a great big data upload. From the start we get all that life experience and wisdom at birth and make us ready for action at the start. We could then get a whole bunch of crap out of the way by about age 22 and then spend our time having fun or worshiping Him, or producing if that is what we are supposed to do.

It isn’t this way because, in my opinion, life is about the transitions. It’s about personal growth. It’s about our soul. God’s goal is not for us to build that empire, but to give us the opportunity to pass through millions of transitions, each time learning what we need for a future transition. Sometimes transitions seem to come out of order, like learning how to flirt only came AFTER smoking hot Angel L flirted with me in English class in junior high. But maybe that is a part of the plan. Some things, however beautiful at the time, are not meant to be, because we are not ready.

Death, that scary thing we Americans try to hide and ignore, is one of those transitions. Hopefully we spend a lifetime, however short or long, getting ready for death. And then we transition. It’s said death and taxes are similar in that they are certain. To me taxes seem more like a chronic yeast infection than a transition. So maybe the similarity ends with their inevitability. Either way, death will come.

Ecclesiastes 3 says God set eternity in the hearts of men. We long for eternity. So why do we hide from its transition in death? I don’t mean we should seek out our death. FAR FROM IT! Instead, I try to become comfortable with death’s reality. When I was having a bad spell years back, I went to a cemetery and sat at the grave of a young baby girl who died of SIDS in our church. I was close to the family and the event when she passed. Sitting there, I felt a calm come over me, not because I was happy with her passing. I hated it. I felt a calm because I accepted a fundamental truth of life: we are and will transition…so don’t fight it.

Some people might find this topic, even the title of this post morbid.  Rather, I think that shows how far we are removed from life’s reality.  Facing this gives us an ultimate peace. I think becoming comfortable with death is the ultimate test of having contentment in life. It helps us to see life for what it is, vaporous and transitional, and maybe it helps us get ready for our own passing.





Tropical Jungle Mystery?

3 06 2013
Random Loiterers

Random Loiterers

There are enough dogs on this island to start a mutt-dog racing park and still have enough left over to populate a small continent. I doubt these dogs would cooperate for chasing a mechanical rabbit. More likely, they would hold a committee meeting on how to breed and loiter in public places.  But they would do fine on the populating of a continent and result would be a prolific motley crew of mange, bad attitudes and howling (my beautiful dog and his descendants excepted of course). The point is, there are a lot of dogs here.

As my dog did his #2 business this morning on a green patch of turf beside a coconut tree, it struck me. Where does all the poop go? I rarely see any of it…anywhere…not on the road, at the split, on the docks, or in the yards. When my dog drops a load by the side of the road, I don’t see it there after a mere 2 or 3 days. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing it again. It begs the question: Is this tropical island the land of disappearing dog poop?

“These Shoes Smell.”

There are no shortage of biologic influences here. The circle of life is massive and overpowering. Foliage grows in impossible places. Iguanas are more numerous than rats. Birds sing and wake tourists up all hours of the day and night. Insects find and pierce the smallest of wholes in window screens and doors. In fact, last night I saw a large moth wriggle under my front door after somehow getting around my outer locked screen door. The moth fluttered up and around the room like he was cruising into a midnight dance club saying, “Hey man, mind if I hang out a bit?”

“Not at all. Join the party man with me and the 68 mosquitoes.”

See The Iguana?

Growing up watching the 1933 classic movie King Kong, I saw dinosaur-like lizard creatures roam and eat freely, ostensibly hidden from “modern” scientific notice by the dense canopy jungle on a remote tropical island. Mythic creatures abounded, not the least of which was the king of them all, a 200′ ape called Kong who ate small bananas and hung about with beautiful young blondes.

Is there a mythic creature here that gathers dog poop depositing it in the local landfill at night? We could call it the Sasquatchus Dogus Poopus Nocturnus. Before you laugh please note that I lived in this house 5 month before I realized there was neighboring house—a whole house!— just yards from my southern fence line. To make matters worse, I have nary a tree between my front porch and this fence. This means the view of the neighbors house was swallowed up in just 30 yards of mangrove. And the house is a bright yellow. It’s not like it’s camo-green. The only reason I even noticed is the neighbor was doing some construction one day and happened to cut down a tree on the far side. I walked over to see what was going on and said, “Oh look, a house.”

My friend Willie loves CSI. A few years back, we both went through a huge CSI spell, watching Grissom and the crew find and discern all kinds of bodily fluids to solve their cases. After that spell, when Willie changed a diaper (or more likely took the diaper off, saw the load, and then called his wife) he would say, “Honey, now there is a whole lot of evidence.”

I would think any mythic poop removal creature, however big or small, would leave some evidence such as a foot print, a hair, a 9×9 photo of his family back in the States, or maybe just some poop of his own.

Jazz

A human is unlikely to blame. Tourists are here to swim, snorkel, drink, and have kind pre-consensual conversations with local wildlife. I don’t see collecting doggie dew dew on the top 10 vacation list.

Belizeans are unlikely answers. Littering is a national past time. Belizeans don’t even pick up all the beer bottles for the 5 cent deposit. I see more empty beer bottles than dog sign. But the dog sign just disappears.

Maybe the circle of life is just that strong. Maybe bacteria breaks feces down within hours and then insects feed on the bacteria, which leads to birds having a nearby strip poker game. Who knows?

Theories anyone?