There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”
Act 1, Scene 5
Yesterday, not for anything close to the first time, I should have died. I woke up to find a strange woman standing over me while I was lying in bed. She was a paramedic. She had just brought me back to consciousness when my blood sugar had dropped so low that it was undetectable by medical equipment. I’m alive because my roommate checked on me, found me irretrievably unconscious, and called 911. She has done this more than once.
I should have died, in what I think would have been a beautifully appropriate way, a couple of years ago when my blood sugar went so high that it was off the scale. I was alone then. There was no one there to save me. One of my friends, though, became concerned when she couldn’t get me on the phone, and, though she was out of town, she sent the Mesa Police to do a wellness check, and they took me to the hospital. I had gone into Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I would, undoubtedly, have died alone in a cheap motel room had she not interfered. Frankly, that would have been, at the time, my preferred way to shuffle off this mortal coil. It didn’t happen, though. Someone kept me alive.
This has happened at least half a dozen times in the last four or five years. I was at a place where I was unable to help myself, and someone came to my rescue.
When I posted about yesterday’s incident on Facebook, more than one of my friends suggested that there is a reason that I keep cheating Death. Their reasons are, whether they say it directly or not, supernatural. God, or some other force like Him, is not letting me die.
I love my friends, but I reject that answer. Why, Fred? The evidence is there. Some force keeps intervening to keep you alive. It must be God, in some form or other.
Why must it be God? I believe you’re making what is commonly called The God of The Gaps Argument.
The God of The Gaps is defined, as follows, by Wikipedia.
The term God-of-the-gaps fallacy can refer to a position that assumes an act of God as the explanation for an unknown phenomenon, which is a variant of an argument from ignorance fallacy. Such an argument is sometimes reduced to the following form: There is a gap in understanding of some aspect of the natural world… (God is required to fill that gap.)Wikipedia
I’ve been guilty of committing this fallacy, myself, on more than one occasion. How else can one explain the Genius of Mozart or Shakespeare? They are light years beyond what any human being should be capable of doing. Yet, they do. This can only be some sort of supernatural result. They have connected with Something Beyond.
But, that is simply intellectual laziness on my part. Their work exists. It was produced by humans. Therefore, we know, by definition, humans are capable of such feats. They even managed to build the pyramids. We’re one hell of a powerful group, we humans.
Does this mean I entirely reject the idea of there being Something Beyond? No. I don’t. Hamlet tells Horatio, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I’m sure he’s right. I have absolutely no doubt that there are forces in the universe that I don’t – or can’t – understand. And when Science shows them to me, I’ll accept their existence.
I have, from time to time, felt myself, for as much as a week once, connecting with Something Beyond. I simply had everything working. I was in my stride. My writing was at its best. My social skills were on the mark. Women liked me. I knew how to earn more than enough money to survive. I was feeling music acutely. I was moved to tears by Mr. Banks singing “A Man Has Dreams” in Mary Poppins. I could feel the Jedi Force flowing through me.
However, that doesn’t require a supernatural explanation. It’s a part of human experience. How do I know? Because I’m human, and I experienced it.
I had no special powers. I could levitate precisely nothing. I was unable to fly without the assistance of an airplane. I was entirely unable to read anyone’s mind. I simply was making everything work, all at the same time. And it was beautiful.
I think Mozart and Shakespeare were able to make their Art work all the time. I can’t imagine how wonderful that must have felt. Mozart rarely even did second drafts, that rotten bastard! You will never read a word of mine that hasn’t been through at least 3 or 4 drafts. And even if I did 3 or 4 thousand, it could never approach the level of Shakespeare. That’s not false modesty. That’s an understanding of what Shakespeare is.
So, if I’m not willing to accept a supernatural explanation, what explanation do I accept? I’m not sure I’ve found one yet. But, there is one I’m considering. It has to do with Love.
If you’ve spent any time with my Blog, you’ll see I’ve had more than a little to say on the subject of what Love is. It’s best, and most succinctly, defined as the feeling that someone else’s happiness is at least as important as your own. Well being falls into the same category.
In an upcoming story about my secret alter ego, Horace, his Grandpa tells him this about love:
I guess you might begin to suspect there’s something going on when you can’t stop thinking about some girl. Although, more often than not, that’s just a case of overactive hormones. But, it is a part of it. If you think a girl is really pretty, and you think about her all the time, and if you wonder if she has enough to eat, and if she’s safe, and when nothing makes you happier than making her happy, and all of that sort of thing… well, maybe, just possibly you’re in love. But, I wouldn’t count on it.”Fred Eder
Love is also a Force. It compels one to do things as certainly as gravity does. When you love someone sufficiently, you can’t tolerate their suffering, and you will take what ever action is necessary to stop it. It really isn’t a matter of choice. It’s just what you do. You can’t keep from doing it any more than you can keep your heart from beating.
The one common thread I can find in all of the incidents of my Salvation is that someone I love was involved. I have reason to believe those who saved me also loved me.
After quite nearly plummeting to his death, Captain Kirk tells his best friends, “I knew I wouldn’t die because the two of you were with me. I’ve always known I’ll die alone.”
Love, in its most powerful form, continues to keep me alive.
But, why should I keep living? Yesterday one of my friends said, “Fred, there’s a reason you are still alive, clearly. Something you need to investigate, learn about, before it’s too late. Any idea what it is? I have an inkling…”
And that is a pertinent question. What is it I need to do with my life while I still have it? This was my reply:
I think I need to learn to write in a way that can help the world see its commonality. Someone I love very much guided my thinking on that idea 40 years ago when she said, “One planet, one people… please?” (It was her.)Fred Eder
I’m trying to figure out how to make that dream a reality. I have no delusions of grandeur. I don’t believe it’s any more possible than it was for Atticus to get a Not Guilty verdict for Tom Robinson, or for Santiago to get his marlin back to shore, but I admire those men for making the effort.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what,” (as Atticus told Jem.)
I believe in that.”
What does My Life mean? What is the purpose of my continuing to suck up everyone else’s oxygen?
I think Captain Kirk began to teach me in April, 1967.
Edith Keeler tells Kirk, “Let me help.”
Kirk replies, “A hundred years or so from now, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words, even over ‘I love you.‘”
I’ve often hoped that I might get to be that famous novelist. Since he was talking to Edith Keeler in 1930, I have 11 more years to get there. If I can live that long. Of course, I would have to be living on “a planet circling the far left star in Orion’s belt.” But, hey, one step at a time.
The idea of Let Me Help has guided most of my life. I was an Elementary School Teacher for just shy of 30 years. For me, my classroom was the Enterprise. And, arrogance be damned, I was an extraordinary Starship Captain.
I retired in 2016. I thought, like Kirk once did, that I was done making a difference. As it turns out, I wasn’t. I have found that my words can still make a difference. I can still be of help with them. I can sometimes move people. I can sometimes make them think. I can sometimes reinforce their beliefs. I have even, from time to time, been able to inspire someone.
If I can find a way for my words to help bring the world together, to make the Dream of “One Planet, One People… Please” a reality, I will have made a difference. I don’t know how to do that, yet, but I promise you I’m working on it.
What yesterday most revealed to me was that I still have a desire to live. This is new for me. I’ve been ready to die for several years now. In fact, the last time the paramedics showed up, I was a little disappointed they brought me back. Hamlet tells me, “The readiness is all,” and I felt ready.
I lost a little of that readiness yesterday. It occurs to me there are still things I would like to do before I’m gone. There is Love still to be experienced. There are words I still need to write. There is Music I still want to hear. I find delight in small things people do. I need to talk to my Mom every night at exactly 7:37 so she knows I’m okay. I hope to have another pastrami sandwich someday. I want to have a little ice cream before bed. These are all reasons to want to live.
And my friends have given me those reasons. And those reasons are a product of Love. So… what keeps saving me? I believe it’s Love.
You may believe it’s something else, and I respect your belief, even if we don’t agree. But, for me, Love is the most powerful Force in the Universe, and I believe it’s why I’m still alive.
I’m working on finding the Meaning of My Life. I hope my thoughts might have helped you to find the Meaning of Yours.