Is Life Truly Divine?

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Gregory BanksLeave a Comment

Often I find myself contemplating life. Even more often, I find myself writing stories about it, examining it from various angles and perspectives. I also explore death a lot, but as I believe I say in the introduction to my latest short story collection, “Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death & Life,” death is merely the other side of life–two sides of the very same universal coin. I know that any time one uses the word “divine,” it connotes a religious or spiritual context. But I believe whatever your spiritual or non-spiritual beliefs are, there’s no question that the very existence of life itself is precious, perhaps the most special thing in the entire universe, and therefore, it is indeed divine.

But then I look around me, watch the news, read the paper or the Internet, and I see story after story that scares me because it seems that no matter what our beliefs are, we treat life as anything but divine. In fact, we treat it as if it’s something disposable, something to be trifled with, to be wasted or thrown away, to be taken for granted, to be exploited, or even to be snatched away from one another with little thought or care.

Life’s become the new litter, we just ball it up and toss it aside as if it doesn’t matter. “There’s plenty more where that came from” I imagine being said.

But even if you believe in reincarnation, or that our souls ascend to a higher plane, that doesn’t excuse the fact that we are HERE, that we were born into this existence, that there must be some purpose or plan for the reality in which we all stand right now. The Here and Now, must be “here,” right “now,” for some reason, right?

So why do we take life so lightly? Why is it that we’ll even treat our own so-called loved ones as pawns to achieve a goal, or a means to an ends. I’ve heard and read so much about Terry Schiavo–Was she alive? Was she dead?

Who had the right to decide her fate?–that I wonder if anyone, particularly her husband and parents, ever REALLY stopped to consider what she would truly want? Did they think that having her most
beloved at each other’s throats over her disabled body was her greatest dream instead of the most horrific nightmare?

Did they believe that turning her into the core of a political firestorm and having her name and face plastered on every TV screen and newspaper front page as she lay in her sick bed was her ticket to some sort of twisted stardom? Or was it they who grew the biggest tans while basking in her voyeuristic spotlight?

What about the children who die each day at the hands of their own parents, the one’s scarred for life by those who hide behind the most sacred of masks only to prey upon them like the proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing? How about the millions orphaned by a rampaging disease in their motherland Africa?

They must sell more than their souls just to survive in a world that picks and chooses its causes based on what’s most beneficial financially, or is the “hot” topic of the week. I even remember hearing how the legendary Jerry Lewis, who’s done so much greatness on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, feels “pity” toward these children, which, fairly or not, implies that he “looks down upon” them, as if they are less than others. Where is the compassion?

Where is the respect laced with love?

Finally, I’m aware of how so many disabled people hide in their own form of closet, ashamed or afraid to show their faces to a sometimes-cold world. Many commit suicide rather than face the world, because all they can perceive of it is what they’ve been conditioned to see.

Even the religion of Scientology, which actor Tom Cruise has recently brought to the media forefront, reportedly looks down upon the disabled, referring to them and any other “non-productive” beings as “downstats,” and it’s been suggested that their policies may have had influence on the rulings in the Schiavo case.

I’ve personally seen the looks, the stares, the grimaces, and the fear thrown back at me from representatives of the unsympathetic side of humanity. But never have I felt worthless or unworthy of taking breath in this existence.

I was BORN, therefore I’m here for a reason, purpose, or plan. I refuse to believe that any life is an accident, or that I have nothing to contribute to it. And it took me a long time to find my own calling, but it came to me in time, when I was ready for it.

So I know firsthand that you’re only truly worthless if you choose to be. Otherwise, you have a purpose just as important as anyone else. You just need the courage to go out and find it.

So, back to the question at hand. Is life divine? It can and should be, but in fact, it’s only that which we each make of it ourselves. Many of us allow others, who have only their own best interests at heart, to influence our choices.

I was raised to make my own choices, to define myself by who I want to be instead of what others perceive me to be.

I wish there were a way for me to reach out to all those mentally and emotionally disenfranchised people and help them see their own personal worth–to help them realize that they are not alone.

I think this is the motivating factor behind my drive to be the best writer I can be–the hope of one day making a difference.

Maybe this article will be a start.
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