Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Silence is an idea that can surround you in the busiest, most hectic times of your life. Silence can soothe the soul, but that is not the silence I speak of now. I speak of the silence of god. Mankind has sought for the meaning of life forever, but that is not what I demand of god. I have a much more demanding question."

In my futile efforts to continue on with "Fractured," I sat in front of my laptop for some time this evening. I fixed a few typos, and thought about a children's story I have brewing in the back of my head. I had iTunes playing on shuffle in the background because with 4.4 days worth of music, it keeps my writing process from falling in a funk.

Anyway, I was sitting away when "Lump" by Kyler England came on. England visited the Northwest campus during the spring of 2004, and I was one of very few people who saw her perform. I really enjoyed what I heard, so I bought one of her CDs. I eventually expanded my collection to three discs.

The most emotionally stirring of these three albums is "How Many Angels," an EP that addresses the death of England's mother from cancer. "Lump" addresses the sense of powerlessness patients' family members often feel when dealing with cancer. Obviously, it always strikes a chord with me.

Then I thought of the nonfiction essay I wrote this spring, "The Silence of God." Futility and my quest for theological enlightenment seem to go hand-in-hand. It's funny, only in grief do I think of god. I think it's because my time of deepest devotion was my time of deepest depression. I think of all the bitterness and pain that welled up within my being.

I found relief from mental illness at the same time I was losing my faith. Turning away from god finally brought some sense of peace. Now I'm studying the tenets of Buddhism. One of the Four Noble Truths is the Truth of Suffering. Not that Suffering is inevitable, but that Suffering is because of our own inadequacies and attitudes.

There is a lot of debate about whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy, but I don't care which it is. Buddhism is bringing me some form of peace, some form of relief that my Judeo-Christian upbringing never supplied. And so I can grieve, but I can continue on. I must stop thinking of my mother's death as something that damaged my being, but instead strengthened my being. The independence and will I possess are products of losing my mother. It advanced me in so many ways, and that is by far the best way to honor her life. Not dwelling on the things I missed because of her death, but celebrating the character she helped instill during her life.

I must be positive, accept the life I am living and constantly seek to improve myself. The silence of god is nothing to me because I can make my own noise, raise my own voice.

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