I am grateful for smaller things: clothes, food, books on my shelves, pens to write with, money in the bank, warm blankets, my children and their optimism, my wife and her compassion. Life is uncomplicated right now, but it wasn’t always that way. I spent years in turmoil, immersed in unhappiness. I didn’t fit in. At one point I never thought I would make it out of the dark places. I lived with depression and thought there was only one exit. I looked for answers in the bottom of a bottle, in books, medication, therapy, in the wrong kind of love. I hid for fear of being found. I didn’t like who I was. Then after many years existing this way I found mindfulness and learned acceptance. Life slowly transformed. It was as if I had been underground all this time. And was only just coming up for air.
There’s a song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, ‘Mermaids’, that goes ‘I believe in God/I believe in mermaids too/I believe in 72 virgins on a chain (why not, why not?)’. I’ve read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; I’ve read The Prophet and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. But I still have much to learn. I don’t know what our purpose is here (or if we have one). I’ve read philosophies on religion and reality that only confound the issue. Sometimes I think this is all a dream. Camus wrote about these things in The Myth of Sisyphus, but accused other philosophers of committing ‘philosophical suicide’ by taking a ‘leap of faith’ into either the arms of God or the Absurd itself, consoling themselves with whatever meaning they could find. I disagree. I feel there is something more, I just don’t know what yet.
In the sky tonight some stars will have already died. The universe is expanding but will not do so indefinitely. There is a theory that says the big bang has happened before and will happen again; that we are all born from a singularity—a black hole; that perhaps we have been here before, or that we are in another universe right now too. Our dreams are made of atoms, hopes consist of molecules. In a block universe theory, time is an illusion. Time does not flow like an arrow but is everpresent—the past, present, and future co-exist. And our lives are like torchlights scanning a darkened room moving between these states. Maybe one day human kind will walk out of Plato’s Cave for good. I don’t have any answers to offer, I am just thankful I am here right now.
William DeVaughn’s ‘Be Thankful for What You Got’ is my song of the moment. Here’s Massive Attack’s version from their brilliant debut, Blue Lines.
Image credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash.