So much death in the world, and so much of it by choice. It’s like people don’t know how serious it is. They haven’t apprehended the meaning of life, have a wrong theory about what it’s about, and waste it, their opportunities, and those of others, forever. It would all be easier -- not better, but easier -- if there were no God. How nice that would be, aside from the unchecked barbarism. In that magical universe, where things happen for no reason, created by itself out of nothing, self-organizing, just simply magical, there would be no ultimate accountability. Every life would end in nothingness, the candle out and no more light, ever, from it. Only the universe, somehow, would go on, self-sustaining, magical. How nice, to get away with every assertion of willfulness, every undiscovered crime, with everyone getting the same reward slash punishment in the end. I really do think that would be preferable. Life, you see, for all of its value, is unjoyful to me, like a miser’s gold.
Much of what I write in these pages is nonsense. I’m not really like this. Here is where I vent and blow and indulge opinion that I would rarely share, and then only either as a lack of self-control, or to a good friend. But artificial though this be, it is necessary to me -- not the internet broadcasting, that’s just a self-indulgence, but the formulation of feeling via words into thought. So.
I’d known my stepfather since I was a teenager, over 35 years now. But the past tense comes easily, given his long decline over these past few years. He died today. Can’t say it was unexpected. A great unexpressed sadness, but I’m stuck right now, and not feeling it. I have tears, but they do not flow. That is not a metaphor. I write this with long pauses, upwellings of some emotion too inconsistent to be grief. Yet. Forgive me my isolation.
As much as we can know of anyone else, I think he was saved, as we Christians say. I’m always a bit skeptical, but it’s not my business. There are three options: oblivion, hell, or paradise. Reincarnation is absurd. I don’t believe in oblivion, and hell is unthinkable. What am I to trust in, here? Not in God’s goodness. That is what it is. I have to believe that my stepfather believed, sufficiently. Because I am a skeptical man, I find little comfort here. So I won’t think about it.
Heart attack, apparently, bedridden and sudden. Seventy-two years old, and old before his time. He was a very simple man, hard working, could hardly read and never did. A small town Illinois way of speaking. He stamped his feet when he laughed. It endeared him to me. Here’s the thing that sums up his life, and my love for him. He was born with a deformity, so his left arm was permanently stuck raised up over his head. A surgery corrected it when he was seven. His mother hated him, literally. I won’t go into the abuse. Not a good woman.
He was my very good friend, and kind and generous to me when my various calamities fell. I lived in his house for over a year when I got back from Australia -- finishing my BA and preparing for manhood. I am pleased to believe that he knew I loved him. I think he was a better man than I am.
His name was Monty.