Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Post - Doug B. (Rest 6)

This week's contribution to the 'Rest-Fest' comes from Doug B., a new blogging friend, who blogs over at Groping the Elephant. Doug considers himself a Pantheist; if you're curious about what that means in practice, head on over and check out his own words about it, on his blog. One thing I have already discovered about Doug, is that he is one of those rare individuals who are more interested in listening to and connecting with others, than in arguing about who is 'right'. I'm more than happy to introduce him here :)

Rest Provides Context For Life  
- Doug B -

Rest is natural. No profound truth in that, but I wish to elaborate just a bit.
There is much wisdom to be found in the cycles of life. The sun "rises" each morning bringing with it a world of opportunities and possibilities. It provides warmth and light and a mood-enhancing lift that energizes us as we perform our work or just carry out the duties that accumulate with being alive.

Then along about the evening hours, as our day's energy is spent and fatigue is setting in, the sun gets ready to "depart" from us and gives us a chance to rest. It becomes dark. The chemicals in our brain in accordance with our circadian rhythm provide us with a great opportunity to make the best use of that darkness by sleeping, that beautiful rest and restoration of both body and mind.

Well, we've cheated the system a bit through the development of artificial lighting. Activities that used to cease with nightfall can now continue endlessly. Business now literally goes on around the clock, often bringing us into conflict with our best friend, Mother Nature.

These are indeed hectic times. Not in the least because we either don't know or aren't willing to recognize when enough is enough. Personally, I think that covers more than just trying to cram too many hours of activity into a single day. Sometimes we can get so distracted by the goal of trying to obtain ever more stuff that we neglect all that we already have. I also believe we can get caught up in the trap of trying to cram too much life into one lifetime. Sometimes we look past today, past the right now, preparing for bigger and better tomorrows - tomorrows that are not promised to us and may not be ours to live.

And that provides a nice segue into a brief look at another form of rest; death - which, it would be helpful to admit, is just another aspect of the cycle of life. We live and then we die. We come and hopefully we conquer (figuratively speaking) before we go. The great Native American Chief Aupumut is quoted as having said: 
"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home."
I think we can only do that if we live our lives well. For me that is the attempt to live according to nature; my own personal nature as well as that greater Logos that is the amazing Cosmos of which I am a part.

One of several problems I had with the religion of my childhood is that it teaches death is a punishment for sin. I no longer accept that. Death, the cessation of all earthly activity and labors, is natural. Death makes way for more life. If we fill our spot well we can in good conscience bow out to make room for others. There is no virtue in merely living long. Living well should be the focus and goal. And having lived well, the rest that is death should be no great burden.

Rest is good. Rest is proper. Rest provides a context that gives meaning to our lives, from start to finish. It is the way of nature.
About Me:  I was raised a Pentecostal Christian, but as I grew older I began a search for truth that eventually took me far away from my youthful worldview. The imprint that religion left on me is deep and wide. Now I have a broader concept of religion or spirituality than before. It embraces the full range of human knowledge and emotions. It replaces dogmatism with a healthy dose of skepticism and resignation to the limits of human understanding. It is inclusive of all the children of the Cosmos. Needless to say, it is a theology in the making.


  1. Doug is one of the good ones I have met through the blog world. We are from similar backgrounds, religiously speaking. I am much older. I spent 59 years in the Institution we call Christianity. I have been on my journey of discovery for almost ten years. Doug and I, IMO, are kindred spirits.

    This was a beautifully done post, Doug. I have in the course of my journey learned not to fear death as I used to do. I think the nearer we come to death, the easier it is to make peace with it. I have done so.

    1. Hi Don - Yes, meeting Doug on the blogosphere feels like the start of a friendship. It's nice to meet you, also. Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself :)

  2. I also appreciate Doug and came here to say hello and read the post he contributed. I look forward to reading some of your posts as well Kerry.

    I love that quote, Doug. I don't know where you find them all, but just today I was thinking of how much I admire those who know how to die well. I would love to be so mature and wise. My grandpa was one of those people. When he went for heart surgery that he didn't wake from, he told the family. "You know how much I love to travel and my favorite destination has always been heaven. If that's where I end up today, just know that's where I've always wanted to go." Whether or not there's a heaven, it was a lovely gift to give the family: peace of mind that he faced his final moments with peace and joy.

    1. Hi, DoOrDoNot (Oooh-that's kinda hard to type!!:) Thanks for dropping in, & welcome to the conversation!

      On fearing death - I lost my own Dad, just over 2 years ago, now. Heart failure also. After a long battle with illness, it was time - and he was ready, We were blessed to be able to spend his final day with him. Like you, we found that that last little bit of time, and the fact that he was at peace with it all was a beautiful gift. I hope I can do the same for my kids, if ever I face something similar.

  3. Hey Doug! What's going on! :) I'm reading the blogosphere from Kerry and for you, Doug. This is awesome, don't you think? The internet doesn't have no bounds ... from Georgia to Australia and so many others. Way to go, Doug, kudos!

  4. Thanks, my friends, for coming and checking out my post.

    Don, I appreciate your kind words. A lot of people, even religious folks, fear death somewhat. Accepting its naturalness as part of the system has helped me a lot. I enjoy living and can't say I look forward to not living, but maybe I can live the type of full life that will leave death and eternal rest as the next logical step.

    DoOrDoNot, I am a lover of guotes. When I find something that really speaks to me I save it and refer to it often. I still have a pretty good memory about who said what and that helps.

    Doug Robertson, the internet is a fabulous thing and meeting and exchanging ideas with people all over the world is a great thrill for me.

    Kerry, thanks for allowing me to share a bit of myself here at your blog. I, too, consider our meeting the start of a friendship.


Feel free to leave comments - I love discussion, & diverse opinions! So comment, add your own thoughts, disagree - you are welcome.

Its okay to comment anonymously if you are shy, but I'd much rather know who you are, & always appreciate it when people "own" their own opinions. Look forward to chatting with you :)