A few days ago my Uncle Larry had a heart attack. From my understanding of the story he was alone at home when he had it and had to crawl to a phone and then crawl to the front door to let the emergency team in. He was rushed to the London hospital where they got him stabilized and he was ready to come home tomorrow. His sister was in visiting with him today, and she left for a few moments only to return to him being surrounded by medical staff trying to revive him. He died today.
My Uncle Larry and I were quite close. His wife died while I was in high school and we started to talk ever since then. We exchanged e-mails on weekly basis usually debating (or him teaching me) things about religion, politics, marriage and life in general. In fact, I still have an e-mail in my inbox from him that I hadn’t responded to him yet with the subject as “Anointment of Jesus.” This relationship started when I started taking religion at school and he was interested in how I was progressing. I soon found out he knew way more than I did and enjoyed the endless banter between us. He could always be counted on for a joke, insult or odd sense of humour whenever it came to anything too serious, but for some reason it always only highlighted his seriousness about it all the more. He’d occasionally send me an e-mail commenting on one of my posts usually disagreeing with me or putting me in a corner and asking me how I was going to get out. He was intellectually stimulating, something that very few people can offer you, and so he was always a breath of fresh air to be around.
He will be missed. I will miss fixing his computer. I will miss getting his chapter long e-mails ragging me on my punctuation and my indoctrinated ramblings. I will miss leaving his e-mails in my inbox because I had no idea how to reply, because they made me rethink so much. I will miss his quiet and gentle approach. I will miss him at Christmas dinner. I will miss the depth of his pain and suffering and joy that he shared with me that I felt more intimately than anyone else in my family. This is a quality I can only hope to learn from him.
Here are some snippets from e-mails he has sent me over the last few years. The first few are quotes from other people that he sent me, and the last ones are his words. I have over a hundred e-mails and thousands of words for him, so it’s just a few that stuck out to me from skimming over them. Some are funny, some are serious, some are disheartening, some are hopeless and some are simply just intelligent.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
It is amazing that all men of war e.g. George Bush, have been counselled by God and used God as a justification for their atrocities. George talks to God every morning before he talks to Dick Cheney. Germany, one of the most Christian nations in history put the Nazis in power. Jews throughout their history have always acted in compliance with their Jehovah God. And Muslim fundamentalists, who martyr themselves, by blowing themselves up along with a lot of other innocent people believe that Allah will bring them to heaven and put seventy virgins at their disposal. Students of religion will know that God, Jehovah and Allah are one and the same God, but why throughout history and even now do Christians, Jews and Muslims all compete with each other to see which one can make the biggest jackass out of their God.
If you end up working for the “church” for twenty thousand dollars a year, you will be prostituting yourself. I suggest you claim a higher price for your ass.
Nathan, What do you know about Hell? Let me tell you about it.
1. Hell is when your American Company shuts down and sells out to another company who doesn’t want you anymore and lays you off with all of your friends and cohorts, destroying your twenty year career and your pension entitlements along with your morale and self worth and self confidence.
2. Hell is the treachery of friends who desert you and/or betray you when you need them most.
3. Hell is watching old friends and acquaintances die off one after the other until you now have far more friends and acquaintances in Lakeview Cemetery than walking the streets of Sarnia.
4. Hell is watching your wife suffer from the ravages of cancer and listen to her scream and howl when you apply Aloe Vera to her radiation burned breast and back and shoulders.
5. Hell is standing over your wife’s death-bed, with her swollen face and bloated stomach caused by the shut -down of kidneys and other organs, knowing that she is only being kept alive by drugs and assorted life-support paraphernalia and ultimately Hell is getting to play God by instructing that those life support systems be disconnected.
When you get there come and tell me about it.
The following quote came in to-day’s Toronto Star in an article on “Addiction in the Relgious World”. The Quote by Abraham T. Twerski, Rabbi: “Religion is for people worried about going to Hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there”. I consider myself to be a spiritual person.
The only demands God has made of me is to be independent and not become a burden on others or society in general (and that means financial security). Its not written down either but that’s what I conjure up in my mind not having been subjected to the process of religious indoctrination and callings as determined by other like minded people.
Every man contemplating marriage should ask himself whether or not he is good enough for his bride.
The possession of truth isn’t nearly as precious as is the search for it.
Personally, I’ll be seeking truth right up to my death-bed, knowing I never truly found it.
You will always be remembered Uncle Larry. May the hell that you spoke of be over. May the truth that you discovered here on earth be all the more true where you are now. May the truth that you left with me be remembered and passed on. May God be with you and love you and hold you. Amen.