Eerie Similarities

randomlychad  —  June 15, 2012 — 11 Comments

Most of you reading this know of the strange parallels between the assassinations of presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. How Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre, and Kennedy in a Lincoln. And further how Lincoln had a Kennedy in his cabinet, and Kennedy a Ford.

It’s an interesting study to be sure, charting all the eerie similarities between the two events. And while there may be no correlation between the them, it’s how our brains are wired.

We are designed to look for patterns, make connections.

While not the point of this post, in my estimation this is the touchstone of all the best writing: the frisson which occurs when two previously seemingly unrelated ideas are connected. Stephen King has made a lucrative career of this very thing–because it’s what he loves to do, unearth those connections.

Consider that a freebie, because as I said, that isn’t the point of this post. No, it’s a little more personal than that.

Similar to the parallels between the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, I see a pattern emerging in my life. In a nutshell:

My paternal grandfather, Robert Guy Jones, was uninvolved in my dad’s life. Likewise, my dad has largely been uninvolved in mine. The elder Jones died at the age of forty-three, purportedly on his way to the pharmacy.

My dad was fourteen when this happened. I am soon to be forty-three, and my own son is almost fourteen…

Now I’m not one given to conspiracy theories, so please bare with me: my paternal grandfather had some ailment that lead to his untimely death–perhaps inherited. Likewise, I have sleep apnea, thyroid disease, and was born with only one kidney. So it would at least seem that I inherited some undesirable traits.

Did my grandfather have apnea? Did this lead to a heart condition? I don’t know. It is a mystery to me–because my dad doesn’t know, and his oldest sister–my aunt, who would have known best–is dead.

It would seem that any meaningful avenues of inquiry are thus shut to me.

Thus, with a lack of evidence to light the way, the pattern I see begins to take on more meaning. While not, perhaps, entirely rational, it is–like the case of Lincoln and Kennedy–not entirely without merit.

In light of these eerie similarities, I have begin to ponder my own mortality. How much time do I have left? Unlike my grandfather, will I be here for my son’s fifteenth birthday? Will I be around to walk my daughter down the aisle?

I don’t know. What I do is that I haven’t slept well in years, my thyroid condition isn’t getting better, and I have yet to spontaneously sprout another kidney (will the one I have last my whole life through?).

It’s not that I fear death, per se, rather that I fear death’s consequences for those that I would leave behind: my wife, kids, family, friends…

I know that none of these things are given me to know–my life, and it’s length, are in God’s hands where they belong. And by all accounts that I know, is more than my grandfather had.

Indeed more than own my dad has now.

So now? Now, I trust and obey–knowing that God will take me in His time.

How about you? Have you felt the cold winds of mortality blow? Do you yet look forward in faith?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • It has dawned on me of late that at best, I’m halfway done. So I have looked at it as how much more does He want out of me over the rest of my life. All of it.

    • And I would venture to say that this half is way more important than the first half.

    • “For in Him we live and move and have our being,” right? We originate from Him, live for Him, and will one day go to be with Him.

  • Speaking of loosely connected coincidences, you’ll love this TED Talk:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/rives_on_4_a_m.html

    Also, I’d say to avoid pharmacies, but I figure you’ve thought of that. =)

    I think about how brief my life is frequently. Having the lung function of someone over 85 at the age of 22 will do that to a person. So I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s scary, to say the least. And to talk about it takes bravery. It shows death that it’s nothing to be feared. For that, you should be congratulated. It’s a step in the right direction, which is better than no step at all.

    Great post, Chad!

    • Thanks, Adrian! I’ll check out that talk.

      I thought of you while writing it--I can’t begin to imagine the rigors you endure everyday. I admire your tenacity and faith.

      Death has lost its sting!

  • I have comment block a lot lately, like a beaver created a dam between my brain and my fingers, so if I sound random, I’m sorry. I get this way more when I am stressed and can’t sleep -- I lie awake and think of awful things like my kids growing up with out me and about losing my parents someday and dealing with the loss of a child (which my parents had to deal with). I lost my only sibling in a car accident and that pain sneaks up and kicks my ass sometimes. That everything can change in a secondness, the lack of control, the agony of what if. But I can’t live each day like it is my last no matter what country music says. We have to live each day like we have a million more. And I hope you do, because I just found this blog and I like it.

    • Sonja,

      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss--I begin to imagine what that’s like, to lose a sibling.

      That’s the thing that’s hardest to grapple with, isn’t it--that we have basically no control. I mean we can control our behavior--to a certain degree--but we have no control over what happens to us, or the ones we love.
      In that sense, life is hard, and then we die.

      But (and it’s an awfully BIG BUT):

      Jesus overcame death, the firstborn among many brethren. Thus it’s nothing to be feared. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make the living--here and now--any easier. Because His death, and subsequent resurrection, is not a panacea for all of our ills, but about redeeming our souls. And by extension redeeming the hard things in our lives. Because He doesn’t save us from them, but chooses the harder path of walking with us through them.
      I think that makes all the difference in the world--choosing to view things through a redemptive lens. And that is something within our control.

      Thanks for your comment! I plan on being around while yet. 🙂

  • Wow, eerie indeed. I am a conspiracy theorist at heart, (probably b/c I am an Xfiles junkie too) but I must say this needs to be in bold or in all caps in your post. SUCH POWERFUL WORDS HERE:
    So now? Now, I trust and obey–knowing that God will take me in His time.

    • Isn’t though? Admittedly, the causal links are weak, but we love conspiracies, and look for connections because we’re designed to make sense of things.

      Good idea, Jim! I’ll do that.

      PS I like the X-Files, too!

  • I have been all over my mortality this year. My surprise open-heart surgery spawned the first round of it. I had a jacked up valve and needed it replaced, pronto.

    Two months later my wife was on the back of a motorcycle and took a direct hit from a Landcruiser to the femur, it shattered but she lived and kept the leg.

    Our mortality has been in our faces more than I care for this year. I liked it better when I was immortal, before I knew I could die. I, too, must trust and obey…

    • I’ve read some of your accounts, Ken. Harrowing doesn’t even begin to describe them.

      What it comes down to, I suppose, is that--despite the fear--because God is good, we press through, press on.

      In my estimation, that is faith. Knowing that any moment we’re one heartbeat away from eternity, and going on anyway, following Christ where He leads.