never painless

I heard bad news yesterday. The details don’t matter; that is, they don’t matter to you and I. I can only imagine how searing the details are to those concerned; it’s the details of a suicide that haunt you the most. One of the gentlest human beings I know discovered her mother hanging from a light fixture when she was a little girl; to be made an orphan by your mother’s own hand is terrible enough, but to be the first eyewitness on the scene is to be the victim of an atrocity. When I wrote about the suicide of David Foster Wallace a few people took me to task for my lack of compassion for the departed though I still can honestly say that it is not a lack of compassion for the dead but my compassion for the living that aroused my anger. Suicide is selfish.

I know about sharp pain and anesthesia bliss; I crave solitude and dread loneliness. I am contradictory and incompatible with myself; I am oil and water mixed. I have seen the world through a wash of hopeless despair and felt grief that brought me to my knees. I have been weak and succumbed to temptations while failing or falling far short of expectations; I have lost spectacularly at love and suffered my share of humiliations. I have had thoughts dark as tar and have screamed to the stars. We all have a right to sing the blues sometimes, but we never have the right to murder ourselves before our times. I don’t know why I’ve started rhyming but I just fell into a rhythm; my point is that when I think about myself too much I can’t help but feel terrible. That’s why I try to think about other people even if every sentence in this paragraph started with I.

I have faith in the infinite capacity of human redemption; the parable of the prodigal made an impression on me. Still, it is hard work to live. It is hard to grow old, it is hard to be sick or even worse, to watch a loved one fall ill. Life is filled with suffering and cruel irony; still, we struggle on because that’s what life does. Suicide ends the possibility of redemption or recovery and takes it’s reasons with it, leaving only a confusing pain that will batter and baffle the souls of loved ones for the rest of their lives.

There is a thing called ‘Theodicy‘ which is a term applied to arguments made by apologists for the idea of the perfectly good God who has made this the Best of All Possible Worlds. That some theologians have pulled their hair out over the Problem of Evil demonstrates why I refer to this line of thinking as ‘The Idiocy’; my answer to the question of how can an omnipotent and omniscient being of pure good allow evil in the world is that there is clearly no omnipotent and omniscient being of pure good deciding what gets to be in the world. The evidence of this is all around you. This is not an atheists’ argument but rather an argument against the idea of ‘Yaweh the Friendly Ghost and His Kid, Jesus Claus’, or an argument for the idea that humans can’t judge God. It depends on how you look at it. All I know is that I cannot believe this is the Best of All Possible Worlds, but that does not mean it cannot become that. There are over six billion answers to the question of the meaning of life to be found in the world today and many of them are contradictory and incompatible but yet the world spins on.

None of these paragraphs link together in any progressive way or even make much sense internally. I was just upset by the news and had to sort of just spit this out. There’s been a lot on my mind and I haven’t had a chance to process or write much lately so this is coming out fractured sideways surprise sprinkled with alliterative asides.

In the middle of this I noticed that Gary Coleman has passed away; I must say that I respect how he managed to carry himself despite the indignities visited upon him. Imagine being the funniest kid in the world, the biggest star on the biggest network who not only has the biggest sitcom but a Saturday morning cartoon starring you. Imagine that Jon Stewart and Letterman and Steve Martin and Patton Oswalt and Tina Fey are tripping over themselves to praise your flawless timing and comic genius. Imagine you are a millionaire. And then, by the time you are 18 the shows have all been canceled and it turns out your adoptive parents had spent all your money. Still, he kept working and struggling to keep his dignity despite having to endure living life as a pop culture punchline. Rest in peace, dude.

I sound more maudlin than I am; I wrote out most of the toxic thoughts and today the sky was the blue from God’s Inkwell, the pure cerulean radiance of clear Earth skies. The sun was gentle and the breezes caressed. Julia and I had some glorious quality time. Tomorrow we’re going to the Art Institute. The last time we were there we saw the puppetbike, and I made a note to give them a shout out because they were awesomely whimsical; this seems a good moment for that.

My unlimited love to y’all.

WD

12 Responses to “never painless”

  1. “I crave solitude and dread loneliness”

    Good line, I relate to it alot.

  2. I read this post yesterday but just could not comment because it was hitting too close to home. WHen I got to the following lines, it hit me hard:
    “I know about sharp pain and anesthesia bliss; I crave solitude and dread loneliness. I am contradictory and incompatible with myself; I am oil and water mixed. I have seen the world through a wash of hopeless despair and felt grief that brought me to my knees. I have been weak and succumbed to temptations while failing or falling far short of expectations; I have lost spectacularly at love and suffered my share of humiliations.”

    These are things that I’ve been grappling with lately. And although you may not think so, the post made perfect sense to me. Writing your way through the toxicity can help so much.

    Thank you for your words.

  3. Is the name of the post an allusion to the MASH theme song?

  4. I am angry. Suicide makes me angry. I understand the disease. I have lived the disease. But for god’s sakes, go somewhere that your children/spouse/loved ones will not discover you. For one brief moment, find it in yourself to think of someone else before you do it. Yes, this is indeed very close to home this week. Gives me fits.

    • “For one brief moment, find it in yourself to think of someone else before you do it.”

      And that’s the problem. If people were capable of doing that they wouldn’t be contemplating suicide. The ones that do don’t follow through.

      I don’t know, maybe the ones that do follow through do think of other people and do it anyway. I wish I could punch them in the afterlife.

  5. I guess I know of plenty of cases where the person at least had the sense of mind to go somewhere else. *grumble – shakes fist at sky* How are you my dear? I miss you.

  6. I miss you, too. I’m really sorry I didn’t see you the last time you were in.

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