Nirvana

Nothing like a plane trip to shake a slither of emotion out of a cold heart. The Laputa-like views of the day, or deep blackness of the night, and the remote but real possibility of falling out of the sky altogether, is a humbling reminder of how small and limited we are. This, with no phone or Wi-Fi signals to distract, creates a few magical hours of altitude, solitude (across longitude and latitude…) and still does, no matter how often I fly.

Is that a few tears, perhaps? Barely enough to wet a tissue. It’s gone. What were they for? So unlike the days past where tears flowed freely, for intolerable stretches, and I knew exactly what they were about. I’m pleased at the transformation. I never want to feel like that again. I never want to feel again. I don’t want to think either. Oh I know, I’ve been told, it can’t be healthy in the long term. But I like the illusion of being in control.

For a brief moment I was stung, by a little sadness and many fears. Quickly buried under a blanket of resignation and indifference. How fragile, how precarious, is love, is life. Fear of disappointment and losing what I have. A greater fear, it sounds so irrational typed out, of losing what I’ve lost or can’t hold onto.

I will be dutiful but distant at home, in case death arrives – perhaps I won’t even have to grieve if I prepare early enough. I will be a friend, listening and caring well enough, but not trusting people with anything of myself – unreliable friends most have been, so who needs them? I will offer affection and commitment in relationship, but cautiously, with a store of apathy for a rainy day – love can hurt, a lot and for a long time. Surely, without exception, the end of all love is separation. Why risk being emotionally attached? It can’t be healthy, but I’m half-hearted in believing that, or wanting to do anything about it.

Inconsistent, isn’t it? On some level I believe a God who is incomprehensible, Trinitarian, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, infinite, immutable, omniscient, wise, omnipotent, transcendent, omnipresent, faithful, good, just, merciful, gracious, loving, holy, and sovereign. Yet I live as if such a God doesn’t care or doesn’t exist. Instead, it’s as if I’m trying to attain nirvana. If not the Buddhist kind of nirvana (I don’t know enough about Buddhism to be sure), at least my own form of freedom from desire, attachment, and suffering.

“For then, though I have forgotten the reason, there is spread over everything a vague sense of wrongness, of something amiss… This is one of the things I’m afraid of. The agonies, the mad midnight moments, must, in the course of nature, die away. But what will follow? Just this apathy, this dead flatness?”– A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

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