I used to think I was unique for having an anxiety disorder... generalized anxiety disorder as my charming grandfather-like psychiatrist specified quite nonchalantly to the sixteen year-old version of myself. I thought it was slightly glamorous and comforting, an excuse to let my brain off the hook. The dark weight, though, rolled in and reminded me that it's always been pretty sickening. I stumbled upon my own mortality at age six, while bouncing on a trampoline and cried to my mom that I couldn't believe a day will come when "I don't have any thoughts". The terror of this weird realization haunted me until last year when I finally mustered up the willpower to go to a "cognitive therapist". With some characteristic rambling to a man I didn't know outside of the confines of that bleak-looking room and a whole lot of work... I conquered this death obsession for now. I am uncomfortably conscious of my reality, that this obsession will likely be replaced with something new, but in this moment, my mind is peaceful. I'm pretty damn thankful. Now I'm trying to find some meaning... to find out why God would have implanted this debilitating obsession with life's brevity in my brain for so many years... and the truth is screaming, reeling around in my eardrums.
If I believed in God... he would want his followers to plant themselves firmly in the here and now... on the dirt of this Earth with the people it sustains. We are supposed to be here.
The sacred texts I learned in church regarding the after-life are mythical... airy words, romantic promises of a future we hope for but can't really feel. Less vague and more tangible? The calls to action in this life... calls to love one another, to work towards justice, to withhold judgement, to protest on behalf of the poor and the oppressed.
Our obsession with the insignificance of this temporary life threatens to convince believers that the betterment of life on Earth is futile, insignificant in the light of eternity. In this strain, where is the drive to feed a starving child? If what awaits the impoverished is a life in paradise after their quickly impending deaths... then all we must do is convince them to claim Jesus? No... if I believed in God... we feed them and protest the hoarding mentality that sustains poverty.
I think a lot about the scripture, "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven". I want to live and work for justice like this life I have on Earth is the most divine thing I will ever experience, because it feels immensely sacred. How do we conquer death? We live... because it's really fun.