by Matt Cummings
I was on my bicycle, the last leg of an easy hill roughly a quarter mile away from home when I heard the dreaded sound of a dog desiring to give chase that all cyclists loan to hear. Stand-up, peddle faster. Some of my friends carry pepper spray for these intense situations that always seem to happen on the way up and never on the way down. This dog, however, will die.
There was an eager motorist behind me, one who risked the pass even with the climax of the hill approaching. The driver had no possibility of seeing upcoming traffic and right as she, in the mini-van, passed me, the barking dog ran out and met the front tire of the car. It was instant death. No whimpering. The driver did not turn around. I stopped as the owner came out of his home and pulled the dead dog off the road.
And so ceased the existence of the adventurous dog.
This incident, perplexes me. See, I was not going to go that extra half-mile on the way home on this ride, but I did. The van driver could have waited an extra three seconds to pass, once she gained the ability to see clearly and pass me, but she didn’t. The dog’s owner could have had the dog on the leash since it was next to an extremely busy highway, but he didn’t. And so, in the chaos of decision making, the randomness, the spur-of-moment haste choices, something lived and something died.
And all of this, got me thinking about life, death, humanity, and the choices we make. Somehow, my mind drifted towards atoms and I remembered a Richard Dawkins’ excerpt from The God Delusion that talked about how pretty much every atom that was in your body when you were born is now gone. Dawkins’ talks about how matter flows from place to place, its constantly moving and flowing. Its not permanent. These atoms cannot be destroyed.
So the atoms, the matter, the very seed of who and what you are does not stop existing. It goes on. It continues. It is.
And so, in the midst of this split-second, random decision making, something died, but soon, something new will be created.
Not so much in the heavy dogmatic baggage associated with that phrase. When I lived in Shanghai, my wife and visited a Buddhist Temple and a monk gave me a track that said something in the nature of “if you eat meat now, in your next life you will have a crooked nose.” I do not mean reincarnation as in the new life is affected by the moral choices of the old life.
But I mean everything keeps and continually creates new life, over and over again.
And so, in the limited capacity of life, our mere 70 years of the billion of years in matters existence, humanity, matter, and what made us, continues to go on. It clings to us, becomes part of us, and then vanishes, like a magicians breath into a closed fist. Randomly assigned and continually reincarnated and it gives me hope that we all live within each other and are thoroughly connected to every single thing.
Matt Cummings is 29, the father of two children, married, has an undergraduate degree in Urban and Biblical studies, is working toward his Masters in Urban Studies and Community Development, he works in Higher Ed in Residence Life, and he is political, thoughtful, and theistic. The end.@obnoxiousmatt Finding Meaning