What Are We Doing Here Anyway?

by Char Davenport

This is not an organized write, but a ramble.  A ramble that I am sure many have had and it is just my turn.  It is about life, how it comes to be, and how it ends.

In 1990 my father died of lymphoma.  He was 74, and I was 35.  I thought he was quite old, but now at 58, I realize he wasn’t.  He struggled at the end, personally tried to be strong, physically deteriorating.  I promised somebody, I don’t know if it was him, myself, or God that from that point on I would look out for my mother.  Now she is 96, and I’m nearing 60, pondering how long she will go on.

I, in no way, want to lose my mother.  But I do wonder why she is still here.  She has fallen down the stairs, had a kitchen cabinet drop on her head, had breast cancer, a clavicle break, and a broken pelvis.  She has broken a wrist three times, had one hip replaced, and later a rod placed in her femur.  And in 1988 they inserted a new heart valve that was to give her another seven years.  That was 25 years ago.  She is an anomaly in many ways.

In most cases I feel things happen for a reason, but this one is a challenge.  There are older people across this planet lying in back bedrooms, sitting in nursing homes, parked in front of televisions all seemingly waiting.  I’m sure they think about it, at least part of the time.  Are they waiting for the next visitor, the next meal, the next game show?  Or are they waiting for the next passage, the exit from this world as we know it.  It probably just seems dramatic because there are so many now, or maybe just because I am closer to it.  It brings up that old question, just what are we doing here anyway?

Maybe the elderly or bedridden just seem like they are waiting.  Maybe we are all waiting, but some of us are too busy to think about it.

I wonder sometimes if my mother feels guilty to know she is alive when someone else loses a daughter of 38 or a child of 10.   I decided not to ask her.  But why do healthy athletes drop dead, and young viable people contract cancer?  Is life really NOT about how we live?  Maybe it is all a precursor for something else.

Twenty-five years ago in a fifth grade history book from which I was teaching, I remember reading that the early nomadic tribes would let an elderly member decide when they were done.  And they would leave them.  Leave them to face a winter, a summer, a fall, or a spring, alone.  Alone to meet their maker, to walk the path to the next world, or to no world at all.  I don’t think I could ever leave my mom in a cold tundra alone on a fur mat.  The words spoken silently with the eyes would be unbearable.

At times I wonder if mom is still here because of the lessons that she teaches without teaching.  That we need to lead a simple and spiritual life, that we need to be good to others, and that we should eat our fruits and vegetables. That a whole and complete life can be had if you live it right.  Of course that would imply that a short life was lived wrong, and I certainly don’t believe that.  And the messages spoken with eyes are still with us.

So for now, I will return to the precursor belief.  That maybe we cannot even fathom the complexity of life as God has intended it.  It is certainly strange that we find no other signs of life in this universe.  Can it really be that we are the only living beings in the infinity of the universe?  Pretty lonely, and fairly simple for a God powerful enough to make it all.  Maybe there are different layers of life going on simultaneously, but we only fathom the life we are currently living.

When people occasionally see ghosts, or aliens, or spaceships, couldn’t it be some form of life from one of God’s other dimensions?  Maybe that is where we are all going.  Maybe we all have a purpose there.  And maybe mom’s purpose hasn’t needed her yet.  This concept is a little different than the norm, but it makes the purpose for existence more believable, gives it more merit.  When God is ready for mom, or for me, or for you, He will call.  And he will assign you your next purpose.

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