Sunday, September 7, 2008

The wanderer

Through these years, I’ve seen so many people in desperate and intense longing and prayer for the gift of eternal life, or if not eternal life then at least a little more time.

Time… it’s often been said down the years that people rarely have any idea what they truly need, what is best for them. A cruel god would be one who would grant these foolish people their wish, lest they learn what a burden eternal life truly is.

Which is not to say that I consider our god a kind one. I consider myself one of few people in a real position to testify to our god’s cruelty. Not that I do, mind you: I have long ago learnt that people will believe only what they want to, and as our god has rather grown in popularity over the years, a dissenting opinion is often overlooked. In fact, at times in the past, for such heresy as to call our god cruel I might have been hanged, burnt at the stake or drawn and quartered.

Not that it would have made a bit of difference. Were I able to leave this mortal realm, I should have done so by my own hand on countless occasions. For, you see, in my time – and by that I mean the era into which I was born and should by rights have died, not these subsequent eras I inhabit as a ghost, itinerant and ignored – I was a cobbler. I was a contemporary of our god made flesh and was at work the day he was being taken to the place of his mortal punishment. Knowing little of matters theological, I was on that day more disturbed by the commotion his journey was causing than moved by his plight. In the two thousand years that have passed since then I’ve had ample opportunity to dwell upon my behaviour that day. It is with hindsight that I can express regret at my short temper when I instructed our lord, who had stopped to rest on my property, to carry on and to clear off of my land. However, a short temper is but one of many human shortcomings. And unlike he to whom I was addressing, merely human I was and remain.

Did the punishment fit the crime? In my two thousand years of wandering I have seen that our lord rarely metes out punishment according to the crime. It is, indeed, much more common for our god to let the tyrannous and gluttonous go entirely unpunished while bearing down upon the meek and the disenfranchised with the harshest of punishments. In this life, at any rate. I alone among our god’s creations have been denied the opportunity to see what lies beyond the grave. My two thousand years of wandering, however, have caused me to doubt that the afterlife offers a greater sense of justice than the current life. For a mere transgression against his human form lasting mere seconds, our lord has seen fit to condemn me to a torture lasting two thousand years and counting.

It has been foretold that my suffering will end on that day when our lord returns, and that for some my continual wandering provides evidence that our lord will return. Yet I have grown doubtful that such an event will ever happen. There is nothing that can give me hope that my personal salvation, and that of this world’s, may come from our lord above and not his creations down here.

You may wonder, then, why somebody as pessimistic as I would use the language of reverence in speaking of our lord and his human incarnation, especially the latter as a Jew. To such questions I would say that I have not even once doubted the existence or omnipotence of our god, or the divinity of the gentleman I wronged that day so long ago, since the day of the death of my final living relative. When I continued to survive beyond the anticipated longevity of my mortal body, it became clear to me that the curse upon me was very real. One need not believe in his goodness to believe in god, and the deity with which I am familiar may be more noteworthy for his wrath than for his mercy, but a deity he must be nonetheless. Though his cosmic message appears to be nothing more than that might makes right, and that justice and mercy exist only insofar as it suits his purposes, a god he must be. And, indeed, one capable of carrying events of a miraculous nature. My continued existence is one such ‘miracle.’

A bloody, damned miracle.

1 comment:

reading_is_dangerous said...

Hello Cobbler! You changed a lot since the last time I saw a portrait of you. We're all avatars, aren't we?

I see it a long future for you, my friend, if your god/our god told you you'd be living until the day when your last relative will die, because we're family with the flies and the rest, the trees, the mushrooms, the algae, and even the bacteria!!!

And the Universe is a big place, and they say that life takes on many forms -- you're out there for a long walk.

Speaking of the Universe, if it happened only once, then I don't see why there couldn't be other singular events akin to a miracle. Such event might be rare or not, but the ordinary man would have a hard time to recognize them, because of the first time when you see something odd you can't always see it.

I think a nice activity for a Sunday afternoon is to reinvent ways and reasons for gods deaf and blind.

Say hello to E for me, and please tell him that I am now living in Moscow.