Sunday, May 2, 2010

The River

I’ve been struggling with my inability to imagine where Mike is now.  It’s an impossible question to answer.  I envy the certainty of those who do not question the existence of heaven, though I do not envy the certainty of those who believe death is the end.  My mushy spiritual view of death forces me to question the concepts of time and self.  I do not question God, but I also cannot picture God.  So whether heaven, reincarnation, or fertilizer, the best we can hope to find is a good metaphor.

My friend Jesika gave me the metaphor I needed.  It doesn’t tell me where Mike is, but it is a story that makes sense to me.  She heard it from a friend who read it in a book, so I’m not sure the source, and, like a game of telephone, the story has shifted as each of us has personalized the metaphor.
There is a mighty river.  The river is vast and infinite.  The river has no beginning and it has no end—just the eternal flow.  At a certain point in the river, the water goes over a cliff, breaking the river into droplets of water that fall over the edge in a glorious waterfall and return to the river below.  The waterfall is life.  Our life is the fall of one droplet of water.  Each droplet yearns to connect with other droplets, sometimes making new droplets in the process.  The river is God.  The river is the whole from which we came, and the whole to which we return.  God is in us and we are in God.  Our yearning for connection with other people is our heartache for God.  In the end, our individual droplet selves return to the river, and become part of the infinite whole once again.

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