(featured image by Caleb Reyes. Instagram: @cubby113)
I wake up to yet another day in the same room: a space I haunt routinely. I visualize all the days I’ve come and gone and know, today, I will get out of bed the same way I have thousands of times before. I feel trapped in a moment of fate (a regular occurrence): lying there like Donnie Darko, but after the laughter has worn off. The corners of my room never feel my presence, they may as well not exist. The sheets have pulled out from their neat tuck under the mattress. They’ve been like this for weeks.
I am often thinking farther ahead then anyone realizes, or I care to discuss on a daily basis. I cannot tame my minds eye from wandering far into the future, to a time where everything in my lifetime will no longer be as I know it. I think to when I am old and I am left with memories of everyone and everything that has passed by, should I even have the capacity to still recall them. I can see an end from where I lie in my bed and it makes the covers heavy. It scares me: the thought that all this is for naught in the grand scheme of things. I can tell that so much of what is in front of me is transient or does not matter. I believe I may give off the appearance of cognitive stagnation when I am actually experiencing a constant cognitive dissonance. I see that so much of what happens around me is either out of my control or will pass soon enough, into the sieve of our memories of our collective human experience. So much simply not worth the anxiety or energy. I’m glad someone who can crystalize better then me shares an acutely similar perspective:
The storm and tempest of the sufferings of our time rush past like a short, troubled dream: and then we will rest in God for ever.
- Gerhard Tersteegen (The Quiet Way: A Christian Path to Inner Peace)
I find myself very troubled and saddened by the brevity or life. Yet, at times I am wishing it was shorter. Wether or not we come to understand what or why reality is before we vanish does not change the fact that it’s here, we vanish and there’s no changing it. The machine rolls on and not a soul has a hand on the steering wheel (though some rich or powerful believe they might). We are stuck in this vacuum; together, alone. Climb to highest mountain-peaks of strength or the tallest towers of knowledge, old age will still best you. Time can out-wait you. Tie the tightest cords you can with the dearest people, death will still come with the sharpest of knives. Fill up albums with countless pictures, memory will still leave you in the end.
Quite honestly, I feel I owe a lot of this thinking to my lens of faith, applied to my dented, scared and molded understanding of the world. It has been revealed to me that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Chatechism). Funny enough, I feel like my history teacher (Christopher Gennari) from Camden County College captured the thought very concisely:
Life sucks, then you die and that’s great.
- (C.G. – on the Christian worldview)
Sure; harsh, blunt…but can you really simplify it more? I have lived long enough to witness sadness prevail as the constant and happiness assume the role of the anomaly. But I don’t want blissful ignorance the way Cypher wanted it in the matrix. I would pity my own existence, to not think deeply. It all seems to distill down to a choice between two evils: to be hopelessly aware or to be blindly devoted to futile optimism. Binary despair. It’s a game I did not chose to join; cards I cannot trade in. I want rest, the kind Tersteegen knows of. The kind of rest I find only the shadow of in sleep. But even then, sleep will hide from me, knowing I have to wake up to yet another day in the same reality as yesterday once more: one where my brain rarely quiets and nothing feels more persistent than decay.
I sit down at my desk, amongst my electronics, frosted with a coating of dust, signifying the passing of time over objects that don’t know the difference. So lifeless. So peaceful. Maybe I would prefer ignorance…
I go to bed with the same questions: Why fix the sheets? Why clean the dust? In a world you know will end, where you will be forgotten, why try at all?
I wake up with my only answer: The world is not as it should be. It’s a beautiful painting, fallen off its easel, smudged by careless hands and faded by time.
Something’s not right.
I am letting you see me process… oh, monolithic, cavernous internet.