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May 30, 2010

Nirvana Means...

My mom picked me up early from basketball practice that day. My eye was gouged pretty severely and there was blood all over my shirt. The news came over the radio of our blue Ford Tempo. Kurt Cobain shot himself in the head.

He was gone. Forever, for all I know.

I remember feeling selfishly mad. In the Hindu tradition, nirvana means rest, stability, and joy. Yeah, exactly Kurt: whatever never mind.

But mostly I obsessed over my own final day in this world. It was no comfort to assume that day probably won't arrive for a little while. A painful bleeding cornea and the first time you care about a suicide will always shock invincible, self absorbed teenage boys.

That was the day that I realized, if nothing else, that my time is coming soon. That's why I still haven't gotten over the death of Kurt Cobain.

I don't kazoo Lithium daily or go to sleep weeping over acoustic Pennyroyal Tea. But when I do think of it, I'm still at a loss. It's not just over Kurt, of course. In any circumstance, the sudden collapse of all that a unique person is and knows is incomprehensible.

I think that the death of a celebrity confirms that there's no Karmic force or mystical mathematical balance in the cosmos. I mean, how many people paid attention to and maybe even loved Kurt Cobain? How much opportunity did he have? How much joy did his talent give to others? And yet these only multiplied misery, like a lot of celebrities.

On the other hand, if everything is lost at death, and you're just dead, then why do we even value life or care when someone dies? Why does one life impress such lasting change in the lives of others? Why is grunge branded on my brain, forever drawn to art gritty and unpolished?

Your great great grandchildren may not know your name someday when they are born, but you're certainly effecting them. When you consider that happiness is contagious; the mood of your friends friend yesterday truly does have a drastic effect on your happiness today, imagine how affect is ingrained over generations?

I still stumble in a grand fashion over exactly what happens when a person dies. The Biblical account of heaven is pretty sketchy, and it even says that what is eternal is unseen.

To be clear, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. I buy that. I do. Most of the time, I'm pretty much at peace with the revelation that the end is a beginning.

But in context, much of it seems to be concerned with life now. All the talk of mustard seeds and leaven and well-to-do house holders is to explain how heaven is both a promise for the future and present now, in some sense, in the ways and teachings of Jesus. Check Matthew 13 if you like.

Of course not everyone who claims religion is all set right now and unto the ages. Jesus himself warned that many who say "Lord, Lord," are evildoers who he never knew. He also said that the first in this world would be last in heaven, and the last will be first. When you want to get all up in someones face about how you KNOW it will be after death, go ahead and explain exactly what Jesus meant by that.

Whatever the case, is it blasphemous to say that God definitely holds utter, uncompromising condemnation for those tormented with pain and sorrow and mental anguish, famous or not? When blessed are those who mourn? Maybe there's some part(s) of Kurt that God judges to be redeemable. Who am I to say?

So Kurt probably heard of Jesus but didn't know him. His parents likely didn't give a damn. That likely contributed to his mental disorder, which certainly is hell. The root cause of this living hell is something not of God; separate from God.

I'm pretty sure that finding our joy and our value in God, and trying to do His will, are the only things in this life that will save any sinner from living hell and any sane person from despondency.

"I'm so ugly,
that's okay 'cause so are you - broke our mirrors."

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What specifically gives you hope for the afterlife? Do share.

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