Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finding Some Meaning

I don't expect to ever find a good reason for Eva to have died. She was a child. Nay, she was a premature infant with a correctable congenital heart defect. And, she likely died not from the heart defect at all, but as a result of the after effects of surgery. So, there was no reason for her to die, but it happened all the same.

Life is fleeting. Really, we all know it. We take it for granted, of course, making long term plans and acting as if we'll be around. We put off, we delay, we bargain, we make excuses, we give ourselves second chances and breaks, we daydream. We do all sorts of things, all the time, that are based on the assumption that we will live long lives. I am not suggesting that I think I won't. But, we make decisions based on this sense of duration that we might not make if we thought we only had a short period of time.

Eva's death forces me to think about my perspective on time. Audrey and I have plans and talk about the future, but how much sense is there in delaying and putting things off, within reason? I am not considering upending everything. Certainly, even in the short term, things like a 30 year mortgage mostly make sense. But, if there are things that I want to achieve in my life, how much time can I really waste in trying to make them happen? More simply, what the hell am I waiting for? As my mother might invitation?

Some things that I want to achieve take effort and hard work and, regardless of whether I die today or live a long time, I can't change that. But, it is better to die while actively approaching those things that to pass away having never taken a step towards any of these things. And, what am I really talking about here? Making my work mean more, really. I have a tech job with a nice salary and great benefits. But, a decade from now, none of that work will have made a single bit of difference in anyone's life outside of what I've done with my income. How much more time can I spend doing this when my effort could be put to literally creating a better world in some fashion? When I say literally, I mean as opposed to the figurative sense of making the world a better place. Or maybe the better comparison is that of passive vs. active betterment. So, passive might be considering yourself a progressive and following along with recycling laws in your community. Active might be joining the Peace Corps and spending every day building clean water systems in Africa.

I want to be more active. It is hard sometimes to not think that all this life has given me is the death of a daughter, not that my lifestyle has anything to do with it. Maybe it is some karmic thing. Sometimes it feels like Eva's life had to be sacrificed for some reason, maybe to just enable us to continue to live comfortably in the suburbs like we do now. Maybe her death hurts so bad that I don't want to be comfortable anymore (I do sometimes want to punch myself, actually). Suffering seems fitting, even if in some small way. And, is it really suffering if we simply give up most of our possessions and do a lot of sweating in the equatorial heat? Isn't there something more that I can give this world than two kids and a few tons of carbon emissions?

No comments: