Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Four: Pilgrims

My soul continues its journey

Sunset in the Mississippi Delta. ©2014 Photo by DELTA BOHEMIAN®

Sunset in the Mississippi Delta. ©2014 Photo by DELTA BOHEMIAN®

By WILLIAM PRENTISS

I had already begun contemplating death prior to my present state. When younger, healthy and virtually free of scars and the tissue that remains, death was something far into an unknown, never-to-be-reached future.

Death was an occasional thought, sadly affecting others. At some point in my early forties, after life had begun its weathering rub, the possibility or rather the probability of death began its ever-bulging loom.

As a young boy, I had several notable encounters with the God of the Bible, yet I still went my own way and still do, in my mind anyway. I am believed to be in a coma, but I can hear many things, but can move nothing.

Death swirls all around me, as large as a Ponzo Illusion, where the sun seems larger than it is as it sets on a distant horizon. Yet, it evades me, though I listen daily for the flat-lining beep signifying I have left the building for good.

I still fear the unknown, or at least parts of it. God has given me assurance that being with Him forever is a good thing, the best of things, but change has always challenged me and the segue into the unknown is no small leap for a man of little faith.

For those who believe in eternity, and I am one, down here is a bit of a dress rehearsal preceding “all time.” We really are just Pilgrims passing through this world…

Tolstoy’s journal entries for Sept. 22nd deal with the temporary state of humans on Earth. Sis began the daily reading with Tolstoy’s opening, “Faith in the existence of eternity is our exclusively human quality.” In other words, other sentient creatures most likely don’t perceive anything beyond the existential, here and now.

He then quotes an Indian proverb, “The soul does not live in the body as in a house, but as in a tent, a place of temporary shelter.” Gravity, design and the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics evidence the deterioration of our carbon-based form, but the soul only deteriorates by choice.

French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal posed the following questions in the early 1600’s: “What brought me into this world? According to whose command do I find myself at this exact place during this particular time? Life is the remembrance of a very short day we spent visiting this world.”

Pascal, who died at the age of 39, seemed to understand the intransient nature of the crown of God’s creation. Though we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God, our very life in human form is but vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.

Tolstoy quoting Toriclidis, said, “Mortal people cannot live long; we have only a few moments. But our soul does not age. It believes in eternal things, and it will live for all eternity.” 

We really are just pilgrims on a short journey to the hereafter, so what we do and how we then live matters. I believe this! Pilgrims by nature look to the final destination, but are always living in the present, which is not a fixed point in time or space.

Though my body remains motionless, my soul continues its journey. My thoughts are my only limits.

Tolstoy’s culminating thought for the day was, “Our understanding of eternity is the voice of God who lives within us.” May I hear His voice, continually…

“MORNINGS WITH TOLSTOY” consists of the inner reflections of a man in a coma, the victim of a senseless beating. He can only hear, and no one knows this, but maybe his sister. Sis reads three devotional pieces daily and the internal dialogue reflects his response to them. 

Mornings with Tolstoy – The Beginning

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Two: And Goodness for All

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Three: Focus on the present

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Four: Pilgrims

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Five: Fettered by Dysfunction

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Six: Limitations of Pride and Selfishness

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Seven: Empathy, Compassion and the Root of Both

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Eight: Religion and Intellect

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Nine: Conscience, God, Others, and Self

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Ten: Wealth

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Eleven: Where?

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Twelve: Civilization and the Inner Self

Mornings with Tolstoy – Day Thirteen: Judgment, Intentions and Actions

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