Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Dave, Another Dollar...

Started a new book today - The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie. Shows promise.

Went into the rug shop today, got some work done, but not much. Spent a lot of time importing my mom's CD collection into iTunes and then into her iPod. Cleaned up some images, took some pics, did some more work on the website. Ho hum.

On the way into work, I was listening to the audio Bible, in Deuteronomy. My attention fixed once again on the green light God gave Moses and all of Israel to pass through the lands of Og King of Bashan, and Sihon, King of Whatever that other town was. They had God's permission to do scorched earth, and kill all the men, women and children, clearing out the land by the sword and fire, so they could take the lands for themselves.

I don't like to dwell on it, because I don't know how to reconcile that with my image of God. He really told them to steamroll the countryside, killing every person, male and female, young and old? I try to picture myself in that invading army, coming upon a frightened family, cowering in some hut or cave or creekbed, and having to unsheath my sword and kill them. This was not only okay, but the commandment from God Himself? "Kill 'em all!"

I wondered why God, who holds every heartbeat in His hand in any case, didn't just pull the plug on these people Himself. Why make His people bloody their hands in such a way, on every inhabitant? I understand the fighting men of the land... but everyone?

Yeah, I can water it down in my mind so that it becomes merely a story, full of symbols... but I can't help but get practical with it and imagine myself there, sword drawn, killing kids and women for God.

As I said, I can't quite reconcile it, so I default to the idea that I simply don't have the full picture, or all of the details necessary to make such a judgment about God's mindset.

Perhaps the conclusion is that physical death is truly no big deal. That death is not, in fact, the most awful thing that could happen to people. That it really is just relocation to another realm, and not cruel at all.

Still, it laid heavily on my mind today. And while I was listening to my iPod and working in Photoshop today at work, this song came on:

What Sarah Said
by Deathcab For Cutie

And it came to me then that every plan
Is a tiny prayer to Father Time.
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU
That reeked of piss and 409,
and I rationed my breaths as I said to myself
that I'd already taken too much today.
And each descending peak on the LCD
took you a little farther away from me.
Away from me.

Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines
in a place where we only say goodbye,
it stung like a violent wind that our memories depend
on a faulty camera in our minds.
But I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose
than to have never lain beside at all.
And I looked around at all the eyes on the ground
as the TV entertained itself.

'Cause there's no comfort in the waiting room,
just nervous pacers bracing for bad news.
And then the nurse comes round
and everyone will lift their heads.
But I'm thinking of what Sarah said:
That "love is watching someone die."

So who's going to watch you die?


It's a very haunting, beautiful, sad song that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it (without exception or exaggeration). Having looked death in the face, it's hard for me to convince myself that it's no big deal. I remember the way my brother's death turn my life and my insides completely upside-down and shook them violently. For Bryan, perhaps it was "no big deal". For the rest of us that loved him, it was a very big deal.

Perhaps that's why God wanted no one spared. No one left behind to mourn, everyone off "on the other side" somewhere together, however that works.

I can't piece it all together, so I let it lay again, sorry that I disturbed it from it's sleep. I'm sure in a day or three, I will have re-filed this connundrum in the back of my brain somewhere. I need a few more trips around the sun to figure that one out.

1 comment:

havah said...

Oh, Dave...this is so deep and poignant. Loss and grief are so personal, and yet they touch us all.

Like you, I cannot make that reconciliation; but I confess that I never truly try to. This is one of those areas that perhaps I am a coward in -- too willing to simply not understand.

Your observation that perhaps death is harder on those left to grieve is really very profound. It is, after all, the very thought we comfort ourselves with, is it not? That they suffer no more, even as we do? I read recently -- I forget where -- that the greatest love is to allow the one you love to die before you. It's one of those thoughts that shifts something inside you, and makes you wonder...very much like your words tonight did.

It is strange, though, how reading your blog tonight somehow quieted my restless spirit. Perhaps because your thoughts have a reverence and perspective that stills the noise of insignificance, and leaves only quiet contemplation.

I pray you find the peace in this that you seek.