innocence, in the face of your power

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it was a very bad day, and i had something to drink. enough, just the right amount—enough that i escaped the claws of what i am, but not so much that i fell over the precipice and tumbled forth, to sprawl and self-pity. it was just the right amount. and i found myself sitting in the shower in the dark, listening to Agnes Obel’s “Fuel to the Fire”, connecting with the grief of mankind.

i laughed at the rich people, because they will be dead so soon. what’s the use of it all? and i mourned those that are dying, even today, in shallow pits, face down. so many dying today, alone and in the dirt, smelling their last smells of the earth, and thinking it was sweet to walk on this soil just hours ago, however meaningless it seemed before.

it’s a terrible humiliation to be put to death; and all of us, every one, are put to death in some way. some of us are put to death by cancer—that alien invader within us, eating away at us within. others are put to death by bullets, by blades, by malady, by our own hands. every death is a profound humiliation. and not one of us will escape it, not simply the fate of it but also the humiliation of it. to suffocate under a man’s boot, to be drowned in a pit of mud and feces, to suffocate for the blood flooding one’s lungs—that sound, that agonal sound. the ignominy of it. we spend so much of our lives killing one another. but this—to face one’s end at another’s hand, or for no good reason at all—this is a truly laughable thing, and it is a humiliating thing. everything within us fought for a reason to live; in the end, even this shred of humanity is ripped from our being, and rung for every last drop right in front of our eyes.

i had an idea of us, as innocent, and i had an idea of God as impassive. He does not have to be perfect to be what He is. perfect is such an utterly meaningless thing to call someone. we have no comprehension of what it is, and it is so vastly irrelevant to the lives we live as to be even stupid. perfection is such a nothing. no, we do not believe in God because of His perfection. we believe in God because of our innocence. we live such trivially short lives, and we die such pathetically weak deaths, that God—the idea of continuity or meaning, even in the face of injustice—seems necessary. and oh, do i not feel that necessity? and it simply magnifies our innocence, to live and die beneath the auspice of such indomitable authority and power. it is a kind of oppression.

truly, we are nothing, as we suck on our last breaths and imagine our inescapably inexplicable years that simply transpired—now lost to all and for all time. it is not our dream to be immortal. it is our hope to be carried, remembered, and rendered meaningful by posterity, much like the Jewish kings, or the ones lucky enough to leave behind a word or a plaque that the present’s fools find to be amusing or worth their study.

we deceive ourselves, but that’s not of any consequence. i don’t think any of us wanted to be born into a world quite like this one, but neither does that matter. a judgment is meaningless. the future is purely idiocy. i think what is of note is that some of us believe that they have fallen upon the very secret of what will keep them from insanity in life, and from tragedy in death. i am so curious. so curious. do tell me what will keep you beautiful, while i waste away. i don’t mock you. i empathize. it is my wish to find, in the midst of all the great moments, monuments, songs, and achievements of our age, something to which i can pin myself and say “here is the thing that will be my anchor, the thing that will tell the future what i was in its past”. but you know that’s bullshit, and yet i can say that because i, like you, am innocent: innocent of all of it, innocent to my grief, and innocent to my great and unending shame

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