This is the first of a series of short posts entitled “Meditations on Time.” In this series I will explore some of my thoughts and experiences concerning time and the gospel.
Living forever hasn’t always been a pleasant thought for me.
I still remember when the notion of living forever first dawned on me. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. Prior to this time, I had believed in life after death, but I never had really thought about what that would be like. I remember having some kind of conversation with my older sister, and she said something about how in the next life time never ends. That idea was so foreign, I couldn’t even begin to fathom it. I asked my mom if this were really true, and she said it was. When I expressed that it sounded so weird to me, my mom replied, “Well, wouldn’t it be weirder if your life just suddenly ended?” I had to admit that I of course didn’t like that outcome either.
Therein was my dilemma. Both possible outcomes — living forever and ceasing to exist — frightened me.
I can still remember burying my head in the seat of my dad’s recliner and contemplating the deepness of eternity. “What would it be like to have one day … followed by another day … and another day … and another day … forever? I was going to go crazy!”
“Wouldn’t we get bored?” I protested. Mom answered by saying we’d be making worlds — how would that be boring?
Well, of course it won’t be boring at first. But forever? Even Disneyland would be boring forever!
Around this same time, the idea of having no beginning also began to sink in. This idea, of course, also made no sense. But — I could handle it because it was all in the past and I couldn’t remember it anyway.
Maybe that’s the key, I thought. Maybe there’s a way to live forever but without the dauntingness of forever before you. Maybe life is a continual series of reincarnations or something. Maybe after this life there will be another veil and future experiences like mortality with clearly defined ends. I think I could handle that.
But maybe there’s not. Probably not. The reincarnation idea didn’t really jive with what I knew about the plan of salvation.
I resolved that I just wasn’t going to think about it. I was just going to live in the present and wait until after this life to worry about the burden of eternity.
Let’s just hope I live a long time, I thought.
To be continued …
Filed under: Religious Experience, Theology Tagged: | death, eternal life, existence, existentialism, Heavenly Father, immortality, Latter-day Saints, LDS Church, metaphysics, Mormons, mortality, plan of salvation, pre-mortal existence, Theology, time