Several years ago, I sat in the quiet waiting room of a doctor’s office filling out a new patient survey. One page listed about a hundred ailments and directed me to mark “Yes” for those I had experienced: sore throat, hernia, broken bones, thyroid problems, heart arrhythmia, cancer, IBS, etc… The hypochondriac in me spent too much time pondering each item: “Hmm… my throat does kind of feel odd. And when I wake up, sometimes my bones pop. I wonder if my moles are cancerous…” I left most unchecked, though I started to wonder how discouraging a form this might be for someone with lots of health problems. Finally, I got to the last item on the list and burst out laughing, chasing silence from the room and earning a few sidewards glances. The last item on the list read more like a suggested remedy than a question:
Have you ever considered suicide?
I quickly stifled my laugh, because suicide isn’t funny (though the terrible form really was). It’s unpleasant to think about suicide. But change one word and you have a thought that can change your life: “Have you ever considered death?”
People don’t agree on a lot. We argue about climate change, medicine, religion, grammar, whether fruit belongs on pizza, etc… But I assume people universally agree that we die. One day, a man might make an omelet, but after he dies he will make no more omelets. One day, he won’t tell anymore jokes. One day, that pain in his lower back will be gone. One day, he won’t push anymore commits.
What about after?
Think about that moment—that single point in time that divides “I’d like the tilapia” from “she was a good woman.” The moment when is becomes was.
What happens next? What will that very next second be like for you? What was it like for your great grandma?
Perhaps you cease. Perhaps you reincarnate. Perhaps you go somewhere else.
Ignore what I believe below, if you’d like, but consider that moment of death.
As for me
I believe that I will go on living. And eventually I will get a body again (an upgraded model) and live with my family. What I do while alive will decide what happens to me in the next life.