Monday is the nineteen-year anniversary of my little brother’s death. Briefly, I was concerned that the 15th had already passed, and I’d completely missed it. However, I suppose that it wouldn’t have been such a big thing if I missed remembering the actual day of the year. I tend to think about my little brother almost every single day. I probably think about him more than if he’d lived and become an adult with his own family someplace far from here. Maybe next year, having been a full twenty years, will be the last year I devote so much brain space to what happened, and maybe I will finally invest all of my energy in the present.
The present consists of me taking a sleeping aid at night in order to get at least seven hours worth of sleep, and be semi-productive and not crabby the rest of the day. It destroys most of my creativity and I suspect that my IQ level goes down about ten points due to the fog from this sleeping aid that moves with me throughout the day. I am unmotivated to wake up before I absolutely have to. The tradeoff is whether I want to be more productive in the short term before crashing into an angry, depressive mess or be more smoothly productive over the duration of the day, but not have as many smart guy kinds of ideas. I only feel like I can be the smartest guy in the room if I don’t take the sleeping aid, but I also become the biggest asshole in the room.
I work for a company that I can forget about when I’m not there. The type of products/services they sell are also the kinds of things worth forgetting about. I think this was by design. I grew weary of trying to mix my passions with my paycheck.
Now, my passions lie mostly in seeing my son grow up, and spending some time with him so he at least sees me as a fairly stable father figure through the years when he might resent me most. I would love to have a closer relationship with my son when he becomes an adult–closer than the one I’ve had with my dad, but I know that a lot of this is completely out of my control.
The things that I do have control over seem to continue to shrink with each passing year–ie, most of them were mirages to begin with.
Maybe that’s the main reason I sit here and do what I’m presently doing. It’s one thing I sort of have control over, even as I am happiest writing when I can let go of some of that sense of being in charge and just let the words flow as they will.
Mind. Freedom. Giving someone the illusion they are more free than their ancestors while actually enslaving them more. Enslaving them by leading them down the path of ceasing belief in a soul, spirit, etc. First generation of non-believers will claim they can be good without God. Second will find their parents’ half-baked ideas of love for others quaint, but more or less hold onto them. Third generation will be completely removed from any sense of morals, grounded completely in a mode of social Darwinism and pure materialism.
But, immersion into pure Mind is as enslaving as immersion into pure Matter. Neither represent access to a complete truth. The soul lives in a place we sometimes call intuition, emotions, a sixth sense, etc. The soul is palpable, tangible, but not physical in the carnal sense. Nor is it rational in the mental sense. But, all three not working together under the auspices of Christ results in chaos. Social norms tend to keep the chaos-attracted soul from displaying egregious evil ways, but stripped of the social norms, only the Christ-protected souls refuse to give themselves over to pure evil.
The deal that you make with the devil is this–send me back to this earth, and I will do your bidding. You, of course, hope to double-cross the devil by using your second chance on earth to find Christ and get as far away from the devil and his minions as possible. But, this becomes more and more difficult with each passing generation. Inevitably, most of you end up returning and doing exactly what you promised the devil you would do. Sometimes it’s simply to get the next quick meal or fix, and sometimes you do it thinking that fame and riches will be yours perpetually. But then, in the end, the devil does come to take his toll. You must accept that you’d abandoned Christ a long time ago and there is only one path left for you now…the one that you will be on for all of eternity. The point is that you made a deal with the devil prior to being born in this world.
There are a lot of days where my brain starts to go in that direction. I become more and more convinced that I should become the staunchest of conservative Catholics. That I have been headed down a road to hell with my “it’s all good and relative” liberal’s way of thinking, which is born out of a desire to be liked, to be seen as compassionate and caring of others, but may inevitably be simply an overly permissive way of thinking. I start to think that perhaps what the world really needs isn’t more love of the 60s variety, but more tough love of the much-maligned Catholic school kind–the tough love that builds character and forms respect and yields forth real men and women instead of soft-headed sops who now populate both sides of the political aisle. The world needs more fire-and-brimstone preaching, more policing of morals, not less. The world needs a Catholic sort of crusader who is not cut from the cloth of our current pope or Thomas Merton, but a lover of the old Latin Mass and an apologist of any Catholic who was strict and unyielding as it pertains to matters such as divorce, birth control, homosexuality, etc.
Obviously, swinging hard in such a staunchly conservative direction doesn’t do anyone any good. Out come the hypocrites. Anyone who opens their mouth to condemn others will inevitably be exposed for the true hypocrite that they are.
However, I think that the real issue isn’t other people’s morals, but my own. I need to become stricter about my own choices that I make, my life and my own way of being. I need to read more religious books and pray more. I need to check my lust and my temper. I need to spend time with my child forming his religious and spiritual character. The business of lashing out at others and trying to force them to think a certain way is a terrible business to get into, and shouldn’t ever be one I find myself in. But the business of letting my own self lapse into complete depravity is just as terrible. I know I am a better person than the one I’ve been over the past year, and no amount of writing about being a better person will change anything, though a constantly vigilant journal that is devoted to reminding myself to be a better person might be something I need to participate more regularly in keeping.