I have a fear that my life is meaningless. In college I went through a period where I realized I was going to die. I wanted to continue thinking and seeing things through an immortal lens, but it was like I had woken up from a sweet dream. No matter how much I tried to close my eyes and imagine things as the way they were in my dream, I knew it was not real. Being a Christian, it made me wonder if I really believed what I said I believed.
I was at the beach with several friends one Saturday during the time that I was coming to this realization, and while we were in the water, I had gotten separated from everyone else. It was very bright. I was squinting as I looked back at the sand. The sun was hot on my shoulders and I wondered if I was sunburned. Water trickled down my face from my hair, the salt burning my eyes and leaving its taste in my mouth. The water was cool and soothing with the current making me sway. Then the the same creeping feeling came over me sending goosebumps down my spine, that feeling that I was going to die.
When I would die, there would be no more warmth from the sun on my skin, or cool water trickling down my face. There would be no need to squint or wipe the salty water from my eyes. There would be no tears to wipe away because there would be no joy or sorrow. Not only would these no longer ever occur for me again, but their memory would die with me. I had never felt so detatched from my reality, whatever that was. I felt like I was merely an organism, a collection of nerves and impulses temporarily reacting and interacting with its environment. It all felt so meaningless. It was overwhelming thinking that my non-existence was more normal and more real than my existence. My existence was temporary, but my non-existence was permanent. The real never felt so surreal; everything was meaningless, utterly meaningless.
Am I supposed to spend my life trying to make my stay as comfortable as possible knowing my time is coming soon? It is like hospice, but on a larger scale. The idea that only the dying are on their deathbeds implies that humanity can be broken into two categories, the dying and the non-dying. This is a way we deceive ourselves and pretend that death is only for the artificially separate category of the “dying”. We are all dying. We are all on our own deathbeds. Every breath is a dying breath. For many people this seems wrong because it is morbid to contemplate this and they assume that morbidity is wrong to contemplate. This is especially true in a culture that idolizes youth and physical pleasure. Because there is nothing more than what our physical senses perceive, then the here and now is the ultimate, it is the god that we serve. Everything means everything, but ultimately this means nothing means anything.
The question then is no longer about the meaning of anything because meaning is found in how it makes us feel, so the questions is about how this or that makes us feel and whether or not it feels good or right for me. Good and bad, right and wrong become mere fabrications meant to hold society together so each individual can provide comfort and pleasure to himself or herself in his or her own way before the inevitable annihilation.
But I do not believe this way, though I have imagined it and toyed with it. Without God, life is unliveable if it is given any serious thought. I have come to realize that I did not wake from a sweet dream into a harsh reality of death. No, I woke from a nightmare of deception into the sweet reality that this life and this world will end. When I die, my body, my flesh, will die with all of its pain and suffering. I will be resurrected into a perfect state with a perfect body. This world, with all of its pain, frustration, and struggle will die one day, and God will make it new. If Christ Jesus is who He said He was, which I do believe, then this is my future. My future is not the death of life; it is the death of death.