From a Creighton Student's Perspective
February 7th, 2008
Junior, Accounting Major
When writing previous reflections, I have been able to formulate my thoughts within a matter of minutes. Today’s reflection has taken over a week and four drafts to come up with the final product. I have said to myself so many times “I can do better than that” or asked “What wisdom am I supposed to provide for others when I can’t even answer my own questions?” and the results have been simple. I cannot do any better than this and I don’t have any wisdom to provide. So here is the caveat: if you are looking for something more than my thoughts and feelings on today’s readings you aren’t going to find it. Unfortunately, you will have to look elsewhere.
Today’s reflection is especially hard because it deals with death, something I have experienced in the much too recent past with the death of my cousin. In the last few days I have realized how much of a human concept death is. It sounds trivial to say this but if we really think about it, death doesn’t exist with God. It only exists in our minds and by what we can grasp as humans with limited knowledge. When on the phone with my mom this weekend, we were discussing my cousin and I told her I knew death is permanent but until I experienced it for the first time two weeks ago, I didn’t grasp that it is a forever thing. When a week after his death I read today’s passages I had to hope God has a pretty good sense of humor to choose me to write this reflection out of a choice of 30 students. Finally, I found something to relate to these readings and to somewhat make sense of it all, at least for now.
I don’t have the answers to why my cousin died or why I learned more about him in three days than I did in the years I knew him. I am still angry by the fact that he gave of his worldly possessions to help others, had a good attitude to brighten people’s days, and in the end gave of his life to ensure the safety of another and was killed so young. Moses tells the Israelites “You have the choice between life and death” and Vincent chose life so why did it end in death? If he was doing the right thing(s), then why did he have to die so early and for the good to end so soon? When I asked myself these question I finally realized I don’t know the meaning of death. My definition of death is permanently gone when really; it is a transformation of life. He lived his life on earth, just as Jesus asked His disciples to do, and we now know and pray that he has eternal life with God. Thus, the good hasn’t ended, it has only transformed into the works of others---his friends and family---just as his life transformed.
This realization was aided by a recent story I have read about a man who had been to heaven and hell through meditation. When asked about it, he said they are both of the same form: love. Everything is cyclical and that is why they are the same. This confused me because I had never thought of hell as love and when I read on the man continued to say that heaven and hell are not about the end result, it is about the nature of the seven layers you take to get there. To get to heaven, you must take a path of life and give that life to others. To descend to hell, you do the opposite and take the journey of anger, judgment, and pain. Granted, this goes against almost everything I have learned about heaven and hell but to me, at this point in my life, it seems to fit with what Moses tells us. We can choose between heaven and hell and it doesn’t mean we decide the destination (only God can decide that) it means that we have chosen our path and created our own heaven or hell.
For those of you who have read this far, thank you. I am sorry I cannot provide anything more substantial but in the end, this was substantial enough for me. To live life as Vincent did is something I will strive to do. In the end, God’s plan will be revealed and my questions, sadness, and frustrations will go away. Until then, all I can remember is that I have a choice and I can choose my destiny here on earth and help others to do the same.
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