24 May 2011

Long View

Longview, Washington, is a small city on the road from our home to Seattle.  It's also on the route we take to Astoria on the Oregon coast.  It's not a particularly beautiful place but it's interesting... and a promise of something better to come.

A long view is also the difference between an atheist and a believer, between a self-absorbed person and a happy person.

Example: someone has a bad migraine.  Two reactions will come forth:
1. Why is this happening to ME?  Why doesn't someone DO something about it?!?
2. Had these before, will have them again.  I always get over them.  What can I do right now?

Another example:  Someone loses a child to premature death.  There are also two possible reactions:
1. Grief.  Hopelessness, sense of permanent loss.
2. Grief, sense of loss, tempered with an understanding that there will (a) be a future reunion, and (b) both parents and child will appreciate each other that much more because of the separation in between.

In both examples, you can view life in two ways:
1. A series of accidental genetic mutations, starting from an unexplained origin, created me.  I have no idea why.  I will die soon, I will cease to think and exist - and soon be forgotten.  I may try to create a false immortality by writing snarky, savagely-critical books about others, and justifying my repulsive behavior to others by calling myself "the lovable contrarian" - but everyone knows it's false.  
2. We have existed for billions of years in a limited form.  We have an opportunity to grow and become something greater during a tiny window of time while we live on this planet - and we accept the challenge.  We find that we can actually earn something towards the next estate while we are here.  We die and are finally free of the testing, which hasn't been gentle.  We realize even before this that it is NOT the end, but that we will continue living in a better state than before, a state proportional to what we have done for others in life.

The first is the deliberately self-absorbed, self-limited view.  The second is the long view.

Life is a lot easier in Longview.


1 comment:

  1. I don't know about you, but I've found myself in both places, regarding the same situation. My first reaction is to go to Shortview. It takes a lot of faith and prayer for me to arrive at Longview. But you're right. It's a lot more peaceful place to be.