Weekly Ketchup 07 - A Friend's Death, Priesthood, and Spirituality

There's a 3-day Sale at SM Santa Mesa that concludes today plus an ongoing major sale at Fully Booked SM Mall of Asia - and I didn't go to either one. Hey, look at me following through. Yay me!

It was Valentine's week as well and since I've been largely celibate on that front, add my previously mentioned vow of poverty, and voila! I'm an instant candidate for priesthood.

Except for one itsy-bitsy tiny detail.

But first: Let me ramble about "timing".

I found out a few hours after I posted the previous blog, titled "the Big C's", that I lost a college friend to cancer. Obviously that was a coincidence. That it was the same weekend I was supposed to finally go and find her - but didn't - shook and rattled every fiber of my being.

I did consider, more than once, that she might've passed on already and that was the reason we haven't heard from her after all these years. You see, she was someone who just fell out of the radar after college, someone whose absence is a constant presence by itself during get-togethers. Not that she was anti-social. Far from it. She was just anti-social media.

Last Saturday, as I was thinking about how I was going to introduce myself to whoever answered the door at her old address, I entertained that question again: What if they tell me that she had long gone? I would learn later on that she passed away just the previous day.

It's a miracle we even found out. By some divine design, she had a friend who knew one of our college friends and recognized her from the slideshow memorial. It's a strange series of coincidences that somehow put us on the path to reuniting with our long-absent friend.

From Germie's FB

Obviously, losing a college friend is a big development in my life. If I'm being honest but selfish, I resent that it was so much easier to mobilize the same group of people to her funeral than it was to my 30th birthday party a couple of years ago. I understand that one had more weight than the other, but honestly I would rather that I had cause to miss out on one's funeral than I had reasons to celebrate one's special day - be it a smashing wedding or a simple birthday. After all, as we progress in life, we will have to say goodbye to the people we've spent our formative years with. That's a given. But if my last memory of my friends is that one time we got so drunk and did stupid things together, I would feel much better even if I missed out on sitting across their coffins. In a way, this just ties up perfectly with a previous blog I wrote about making time for friends.

Now, let me just tie all of this up.

The reason I can't be a priest is because I have yet to make my mind about God. I'd rather not dismiss the idea completely but I've been leaning towards the side of agnosticism since 9/11. That is, I believe that there is a higher power - but he/she/it isn't the same one that the Catholics and Christians preach about. However, I am adamant about disassociating with organized religion altogether. While I wouldn't consider myself an atheist, I probably shouldn't represent myself as an agnostic either since there are likely aspects of that movement that I don't also agree with.

I'm not that much of a forward-thinker. I live for the moment. Which is also how I found myself in my current financial bind. So the idea that we were put on this earth just to prepare ourselves for the afterlife sounds ridiculous to me. In addition, I cannot bring myself to believe in a powerful being that possesses such human qualities as jealousy and self-entitlement. I can go on but I think that's another blog.

So what's my deal with the "higher power"?

Again, it all goes back to timing. I logged into my Facebook account only to rave about a chapter in Sailing to Sarantium that detailed a meeting between the main character, who's a believer in that world's version of the Judeo-Christian ideal of God, and a pagan deity. The scene just begged the question of "how can you not believe what you've already experienced?" It was in that same Facebook session that I found out about my friend. The next day, her sister shared that prior to taking her final breath, my friend sat up and proclaimed that she had already seen God and that she was ready to go. I have no reason to believe that either of them are lying. There is something or someone out there.

I've also had many instances where the universe conspired to deliver me things that I've been needing or wanting. For one thing, fate had intervened to let us visit our friend one last time. Either that or we were extremely lucky. But I also believe in making my own luck: That fate can only take me so far. I've had many opportunities open up to me because of random spur-of-the-moment decisions I made in the past - an obvious side effect of living in the present. Timing.

While I know not whether my friend will be frolicking among the stars forever or waiting for her chance at reincarnation as the Eastern religions believe, I do know that either will depend on how she lived her life. While I don't particularly worry about my soul, I want to be worthy of either reward, if either turns out to be true. At the very least, I can try to be a positive force in this world and do right by other people. Not to self-glorify but to illustrate my point, I try to be the kind of guy who would give away food left over from a picnic with friends to a couple of homeless people and their kittens.

If neither pans out and there's really nothing at the end of this tunnel, I'll be okay with it knowing that I had made an impact in other people's lives and, even for just one day, made the world a little bit better for them. Another blatant fallout from living for the moment. Also reinforces my previous point about making time for friends.

Anyway, just so I don't leave in a heavy tone, here's a couple of awesomeness from this past week: the Lego Movie and Michael Christian Martinez!

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