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The Final Frontier

March 23, 2018

At night, 3 REM cycles down, I often lay, not in sleep, but not awake either.

It is a time of float. Space.

It is a time of incapacity. I could get up and do things, but I will not. I imagine that it would happen if there was necessity, or if there was dire need I would just get up.

I was up for 100 hours straight in school, having blown enough deadlines that it was necessary. I had originally typed in “worked” as the verb in that sentence, but it was a sliding scale. The longer I did not sleep, the less likely I was going to, and the less productive I was, so the more I needed to stay up.

I had lost space. I had to fill it. There was no time not to do in the world, because I had made commitments, promises. I had devotions.

But these 40 mornings in Lent that I fill with effort are not work. Here the effort is to get space. To find, something.

It is not rest, for I am not done.

It is not insight, because usually that is what I write about.

These mornings, soon over, are in focused effort to get space. “Get” could be obtain, or “get” is more likely trying to understand.

People “work for the weekend”. I am not sure I have ever had one. When there is an event to go to or participate it, it involves commitment, not “recreation”. There is no space. There is a schedule. Things to be done.

Even in the hospital, 365 days ago, where tubes, wires, compression bags and no sense of gravity when vertical, I had no space. There were things to do. I was following orders. It got done

If I am lucky, I guess, I will find space. It would not be my choice. It would be God’s. The idea that this bag of water and bizzarely complex head upon it could have its motivating essence find space after the bag simply cannot hold its water anymore and the body dies, it is way (way) beyond my pay grade.

But understanding the need for this complexity makes even less sense. The intricacies of the wiring, chemicals, infinite mechanical accommodation and facilitations of our mind and body are beyond staggering. It is worse, far worse even to rationally contemplate how that complexity was worth the insane level of random anything when the result is so extremely complex. I am using that complexity now. So are you.

Every other entity that is active simply lives to make the next generation of themselves while alive. There is lotsa space. With some joy if the brain is big enough, but no sense of death. No sense of reason, motivation, no sense of space, fully amid it.

Space only exists in the absence of effort. Humans can envision it. Some may even live it. But space is not rest, or comfort, or achievement. Space is the place that was there before all this, and after this existence is not there.

In this time of year, a billion or two of us focus on the space one man got to 2,000 years ago. Of course many, deep in doing, discount him, and discount any reality they have not seen. But something happened.

Enough people saw something, or rather for three days a lack of something that when a bunch saw that space, that vacuum, filled, it changed them.

“Mass hallucination”, “self-serving fantasy”, “rationalization”, “dealing with death”. I am pretty sure for many -maybe most- people, maybe me, all those things are true. Now. But I was not there then.

If I was without any knowledge of anything I would still have Faith because in the times when the rest is worked or broken away I know that it’s more than me.

The smart part, proof, can be had in any direction I wanted to believe, because there is just enough evidence, and just enough lack of proof, that everything is up for debate.

But there is no doubt, no debate, that something happened those 2,000 years ago. It freaked out many. It got many killed. There was no reward. There wasn’t even the huge “This isn’t the end!” joy. There was a survival imperative.

There was just enough space to know there was more than filling it.

There was a basis to live, and that has changed.

That change has, for no reason I can understand, completely taken over billions of lives as their basic understanding. The space of powerlessness against so much out of our control, let alone understanding, is harder and harder to find, now.

My only variant is that the lack of understanding seems to be the the mortar that holds our humanity together.

That lack of understanding is called Faith. Especially in Lent.

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