Rainn Wilson and me - some thoughts on death
a weird Questions and Opinions topic for subscribers!
In case you don’t know, yes, the guy who played Dwight on The Office is a man of faith (Baha’i) and has written a book (Soul Boom; Why We Need A Spiritual Revolution) making the case that, given the shit-show we are in right now, maybe society could use the best that religious thought and practice has to offer.
In my favorite section, he offers readers a funny and deeply heart-filled story about his father’s passing. Writing beautifully about death and consciousness and why “life” doesn’t end with the death of one’s body, he offers a list of what his father left behind and what he did not:
“He certainly left behind his 78.5-year-old body on that table near the mortician’s kitchen. He left behind a few hundred fantastic abstract paintings, a collection of rare books, his truck, and various drafts of novels and essays. A closet full of old-man clothes. A toothbrush. He also left behind hundreds who loved him and were deeply touched by his spirit, life, service and art.
And what did he take with him? He took his wisdom. The spark of mischievous fun. His positive inquisitive nature. His gentleness. His vast, colorful imagination. The patience he showed to the octogenarians to whom he volunteered his time and read to regularly. The love he showed to the teens he taught art and painting classes to. The profound, humble devotion he had to his faith.” (Rainn Wilson, Soul Boom)
I love this passage and the way it has made me reflect on what we leave, and what we take. The love we felt and gave and received in our lives is not material. So when the materiality of our existence ends, when the body we carry through life dies, I believe the love remains - both in the lives of those who we touched and in our own soul that carries on. While matters of the afterlife are unknowable in any kind of epistemological way, I do believe that there is a continuity in our souls that weaves us together with our creator and all who came before and all who will follow. And at the risk of over-sentimentality, the bonding agent in all of that woven material of human and divine connection is: love.
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