Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Have you ever contemplated what hell must be like? I think about it from time to time. After all, there’s no doubt I’m heading there, so I’m curious. According to the Bible, it’s a firey pit of burning sulfur, so I guess it smells like my butt after eating Mexican food. And for all eternity. Just like my butt.
But what I keep thinking is that, if indeed it’s forever, eventually you probably wouldn’t even notice it. After all, eventually you would get used to it. Yes, it’s torture, but in time even that would become redundant and routine.
I guess it’s similar to my marriage. The constant barrage of emotional abuse become so routine and familiar that it actually felt comfortable. Since then, I’ve come to realize that a relationship must be give and take. One person, alone, cannot carry a relationship. This is what drove me to agree when she asked me for a divorce. If you’re constantly emotionally abused, eventually it becomes accepted as just the way things are. It’s not until you’re out of the situation that you realize just how bad it was.
It makes one wonder how many of us are in horrible situations of which we don’t even realize just how bad it is. The story of Adam and Eve tells us that humans were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, a garden where all of our wants and needs are taken care of for us and thrown out into the wilderness. In the wilderness, we had to hunt, farm and fend for ourselves. This was, if you believe the story, horrible. Today, we hunt for sport. Our heat and water is brought into our homes at rates at least most of us can afford (recent economic crash notwithstanding). If things were, indeed, better in the Garden, we really don’t know. This is our reality, and no matter how horrible it might be, it is now, simply, our reality. We have adopted, we find ways to make our lives happy (or at least we try), and we move on. Unless we were allowed to revisit the Garden of Eden, how would we know how bad we have it.
But, seriously, how boring would the Garden have been? Maybe the Garden of Eden wouldn’t have been as good as it was made out to be either. I guess, compared to heaven, it wasn’t so even the Garden could be improved. For me, happiness comes from figuring things out, so the Garden of Eden would have been horrible. But would I have known it? Maybe it’s because of the boredom that they finally decided to take the plunge and eat that proverbial fruit, which I assume is the fruit of carnal knowledge which certainly explains the significance of the “snake”. Even in the story it was Adam’s snake.
You know, I just put that together.
I don’t know if there’s a point to this post, but if there is, it must be that we should be aware that our world might not be as beautiful as we think. The interesting thing is that, often, it’s easier to see the problems from a third person perspective. My friend decided he wanted to marry his girlfriend while he was in the military. His girlfriend, rather younger than us, was actually attending the same college as I. As he was writing (yes, it was so long ago we communicated largely by handwritten letters) of his love for her and long-term plans, she was acting as if she didn’t even have a boyfriend. I’m not judging (thank GOD it’s not my place to judge), what I did see were two different and incompatible approaches to their long-distance relationship. It put me in the very difficult position of trying to break the news to him that things might not go the way he’s thinking. Sadly, when I tried to save him the pain of what was about to happen, he didn’t want to hear it. Our friendship was shaken as he felt I was intruding when, in fact, I was trying to protect him, but he had to play it out. I guess I’m no different. I had people point out that my relationship with my wife was problematic, but of course I didn’t want to believe it.
Throughout this rambling mess, I hope I’ve given you some things to ponder. I will wrap it up with the concept of Yin and Yang from the Tao te Ching. Everything, according to the faith, is a cycle. You might be going through a hard time, but remember that nothing lasts forever.