Saturday, July 26, 2008

p15 A Very Public Death

On the death of Randy Pausch and of childhood dreams

Blogger "Trixie," evidently a close friend of the Faith, offers the following comments on death, after the bucket-kicking by pancreatic cancer of the speaker who gave the famous inspirational speech "the last lecture." She makes ample use of the inspirational words of Baha'u'llah.

As she points out, he made his death a public event. For those few who have not seen the "last lecture," it is available on YouTube at:

Or, here:

Here is a recent bit where the last lecturer speaks to a graduating class:

And here I had thought that gadgets and material possessions were what mattered in life. That is what the thousands of advertisements a day I am unwillingly exposed to are telling me. Could it be that they are lying?

Like everybody else in the world, I found the lectures inspiring. Like almost everybody else in the world, I never even came close to fulfilling my childhood dreams, so by that standard, Pausch lived a fuller and better life. What kind of a whacked out child would aspire to what I have achieved in life? One migraine attack after the next...

Worse, believe it or not, my childhood dream was to become a lawyer. So even if I got what I wanted, I was doomed to disappointment. A lawyer? What was I thinking? Indeed, so many dreams go by the board in my life that I am like the proverbial bull in the china shop. After a while you start to enjoy the tinkling sound as your dreams, hopes and aspirations are smashed to smitherines. So spectacular is their destruction that you might as well enjoy the show.

On the other hand, Pausch is right in the second video, there are things more important than personal success, such as the happiness of those around you. What is more, I got something far beyond what I dreamed as a child.

I got Baha'u'llah.

I did not get to be a lawyer, but I got, between my bouts of migraine, a chance to advocate and defend Him in my writings, albeit read by only a few... Today's daily reading from the Writings of Baha'u'llah says it all:

"Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting."

There is a certain plausibility to Pausch's naive faith in childhood dreams. Why else would the lecture strike such a chord in millions of lives? Why else do we follow the Roman belief that we have a guardian angel that is assigned to us at birth, as symbolized by the birthday cake and the candle blowing out ceremony? Of course, if the angel really cared for us, it would surely be commemorated by something more healthful than cake...

What was your childhood dream? Do you have any that were not smashed to bits by the bitter realities of life? Is there anything you would like to do before you die? Share it here in the comments section of this post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Advent of Divine Justice, Pages 43-72: gr6

“Peter,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has testified, “according to the history of the Church, was also incapable of keeping count of the days of the week. Whenever he decided to go fishing, he would tie up his weekly food into seven parcels, and every day he would eat one of them, and when he had reached the seventh, he would know that the Sabbath had arrived, and thereupon would observe it.” If the Son of Man was capable of infusing into apparently so crude and helpless an instrument such potency as to cause, in the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth,” and to exalt him above the rest of His disciples, and render him fit to become His successor and the founder of His Church, how much more can the Father, Who is Bahá’u’lláh, empower the most puny and insignificant among His followers to achieve, for the execution of His purpose, such wonders as would dwarf the mightiest achievements of even the first apostle of Jesus Christ!