Ephemeral. That’s the word I’ve been mulling over since yesterday afternoon, when I found out that Crystal—a wonderful, loving, kind, intelligent, generous person—had died unexpectedly. If anyone embodied the words “living life to the fullest”, it was Crystal. I didn’t know her for very long, but I was a regular recipient of her love and kindness.
So many people are grieving today, many of them close to my heart. I wish there were something I could say that would take away the pain, but it’s a process, as I know first-hand.
So, back to that word: Ephemeral. Here today, gone tomorrow. It’s a great word to describe how fleeting something can be. Like life.
Sure, when you’re younger, life can seem like it goes on forever. I remember those days. I also remember when that concept died in me: The death of one of my dearest childhood friends, Chris, at 27 years old, from AIDS. That’s when I realized how short life can be. It’s also when I started freaking out about it.
And that’s when scientology became my “out”, my way to not confront the reality of life and death.
It was a perfect storm: I had just found out about scientology, then a week later Chris died. I had so many questions; it’s amazing how much I was grasping for any plausible answer to assuage my grief—I guess because I hadn’t experienced much of life at that point.
Growing up in a Christian home, I was familiar with the concept of eternal life, and I was comfortable with that idea. When Chris died, however, I felt empty. Why did he have to die so young? Why was life so unfair? You know, the things we ponder when someone dies suddenly.
Scientology had the easy answers for me. In scientology, you never really “die”. You are an immortal spiritual being, and you return lifetime after lifetime. You’ve lived hundreds of lives and you’ll live hundreds more. Somehow that concept gave me what I needed at the time. Man, why didn’t I just study Buddhism or something? But no, I had to get involved in a cult.
I know, I know: Many spiritual practices believe in the concept of living lifetime after lifetime. But with scientology, it takes some really weird turns. It’s sort of like a “get out of jail free” card.
Here’s what I mean:
When you disconnect from your family and refuse to have anything more to do with them because they aren’t in scientology any longer, it’s fine, because you’ll probably see them again in another life.
When you do something illegal, like steal money off credit cards, it’s no big deal because it’s helping scientology and besides, you’ve done way worse in past lives.
When someone dies it’s okay, because they’ll be back soon. You get the idea.
It was all tied up in a neat little bow for me, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the real problems of everyday life. While I’ve been out of scientology for more than a decade now, I still have to deal with all the crazy, immoral, horrible things I did while I was in scientology. I’m getting there through this blog, but it’s not easy, I’ll tell you.
So yes, life is ephemeral. I certainly try not to take it for granted, but some days I do. Don’t we all? It’s hard to stay above the pettiness of daily issues and realize that life is a gift that can be taken away at any minute. So today, I’m going to enjoy myself. I’ll hug my friends and tell them I love them. I’ll be nice to people who come into my store during liquidation, no matter how shitty they are to me—well, at least I’ll try!
Crystal, I have no idea where you are right now, but I know wherever it is, you’re making it a better place. Fly high.