It's my 666th post.
When I was a kid, being the preacher's kid, I was of course terrified of 666, The Mark of The Beast. My mother warned me to never, ever get a tattoo with a number on it. My brother told me if I dialed it into the phone, Satan would answer. I actually tried that one, figuring I might be able to broker a deal for his soul, get some good stuff and still enter the Kingdom of Heaven unscathed-all I had to do was confess at some later date and repent.
I was all about taking it all back on my deathbed, that was my plan for a long time for my deep sins of eating candy before dinner, saying I was one place but being another (so I could ride my bike longer) and hating to work in the garden. Also, there was an incident involving being stuck on the barn roof at age 6 I recall praying heavily about...but not how or why I was up there to begin with. There were impassioned pleas to keep pound-bound animals, swears of, "Answer this prayer and I will never ask for anything else again ever."
At some point, I stopped sending wishes and hopes and requests to the sky, last year, I tried a rusty plea for the return of my dog that was just as ignored as anything else I have ever fervently hoped for and I have not given prayer much thought since. My wild fear of the number 666 went out around my attaining double digit age and now my feelings run somewhere along the lines of wishing I had faith, but knowing that's not how it works.
Sure, I'd like to leave everything up to a Zeus stand-in magical being who loves me no matter what and rest my head believing there's A Plan and I am Part Of It. How easy that would make it all. Ghosts are not real, other than of course the Holy Ghost and then there's no Santa but there is a guy watching your every move and making a list. And letting children and dogs die anyway. It's all more than I can absorb, more than my brain can take in. But I feel like Mulder in the X-Files with his big poster over his desk. The one with the ufo that proclaimed I WANT TO BELIEVE.
But, I don't. My brain rejects the entire concept. We are animals and when we die, that's all. No Granny baking pie in the afterlife or beloved pets or dead lovers, no man in the sky watching over us, no plan of any kind, no hell for the bad guys or reward for the good, it's all, every bit of it, right here.
So get off your ass and go marvel at something, cause when you're gone, you're gone and right now you have health, eyesight, freedom. You can get in your car and drive and see something new, you can give money to a man who has not eaten all day, you can help a child or an animal have a better life, you can wash your hair in shampoo that smells of vanilla and watch a movie and eat popcorn with butter. You can stand on your roof and scream poetry at the moon, you can weave yarn into a scarf, you can dance and sing and put your feet in a stream and isn't that magic enough? Isn't this life enough? A flower, a star, a baby laughing, a lover's sigh, a cat's purr, the taste of strawberries, the smell of bacon, it's right there, right here.
Don't be a good person for hope or fear of some life after this, be a good person because it's good to be good. Being happy makes those around you happy, being peaceful gives you a peaceful home, being a good mama gives you good kids, being a help to your partner makes your partner want to help you. You get what you put in-maybe not everything is fair and equal and crap happens. How you deal with it makes you who you are.
There's no magic number.