The Forest Path Pavane pour une Infante défunte

We have reviewed four romantic couples—two from films, one from a book, and one from real life on this planet with its daily struggles, ups and downs. Each one has taught a lesson, and each one presents a different view of life, love, death and the hereafter.

Richard and Elsie proffer the hope that love is eternal. Richard had to traverse time to find his soul mate. Even though separated by time and death, there will be a reunion in the light.

Sam and Molly present a loving couple separated by death, tragic death at such a young age. Their hope is that one day their promise of “See you” will be the reality in a love that will never fade.

Heathcliff and Catherine raise issues which are not easily dismissed. For Heathcliff being with Catherine in death was his heaven. He wanted no part of the light of heaven. So he and his beloved roam the moors of this planet together.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, two remarkable, intelligent individuals, accepted the reality that this is it. There is no afterlife when you say goodbye here in death. As Ann gracefully said, “They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl.”

An Austrian friend posted this on his Facebook page on Friday:
“When people that you know and care about pass away, it is always hard! The real meaning of life comes forward and makes it clear. Life is to short to waste it on things that do not matter. Start living for those that you Love and care about. We should all start to look at what is life! Enjoy it with those that you love! It is a gift to us all! Do not waste it! Love you all!”

Going back to Ann, she also said—“But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.”

Now. It comes down to you. I ask questions, sometimes leading questions, to cause the reader and myself to think, to ponder and to decide what do we actually believe about life on this planet? What do we believe about the hereafter?

We live a certain brief moment as viewed on the cosmic time scale. How we spend those moments become more important than contemplation on the afterlife. There is nothing wrong with contemplation and belief. Each individual is unique as science has demonstrated, but at the same time we all are interconnected on this planet.

If we are not helping our fellow men and women to achieve a better life here, then why are we living? I have been to a number of estate sales over the years. Things after death cease to be important. They become the treasures of someone else who eventually will die and these possessions will pass on to others or find themselves in the landfills of forgotten hopes and promises.

What we do for others will have a lasting impact. Think about it.

There is little that we can do for the reality after death-whatever reality that may be. However, we can make a difference on this planet while we still live.

Answers—I could give you my opinions about the questions, but I am reminded of something that I read in English class in my junior year of high school. Ralph Waldo Emerson was talking to his young friend, Henry David Thoreau, about writing.

If you want to be a writer, you do not need to visit exotic places or listen to the experiences of others. Write from your own experiences. Those writings are the most truthful and the most interesting. Thoreau took his mentor’s advice. The world has been blessed by those written thoughts and experiences from a young man who died so tragically at 44.

For myself I am a seeker on the path in the forest. I have never been to this forest before and the path is untraversed by me. What lies ahead I do not know, but I do know that life is full of surprises, mysteries, opportunities, experiences, love, friends, conversations, joys, sorrows and eventually death.

Turning this around, you will have to find your own answers to the questions of life, love, death and whatever may wait through that doorway of death. Remember—you are unique. Don’t allow anyone to tell you what to believe. Search for your belief and when you find it—embrace it and hold to it. For belief is as unique as every individual on this orb in the Cosmos. Follow your forest path to whatever destiny awaits you over the next hill or turn in this forest we call life.

You are the writer of your destiny on this planet. Take up your pen and begin to write your story. Who knows—your story may continue long after you close your eyes in the sleep of death.

To end this summary, here are a few wise words from a man of peace of our time, Thich Nhat Hanh
“Many people are alive, but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. ..People sacrifice the present for the future. But life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and now.”

G. D. Williams © 2010