STRANGERS: I feel more connected with strangers, somehow realizing that we are all just spinning through space together on this ‘pale blue dot’ of a planet called earth.
SPACE: Speaking of outer space, I notice the stars more, and am more likely to have glimpses of the vastness of the universe compared with our own comfort zones.
FEAR OF DEATH: I was on a commercial airplane not long ago when we hit a LOT of turbulence the pilot announced that we should prepare for a crash landing. We ended up flying through the storm ok, but what amazed me afterwards was how CALM and peaceful I was during that time. I had practically zero fear of death. Not that I wanted to die, and yes I thought about being gone from my role as a son, brother, father, husband, etc., but it was more of a calmly nostalgic “Hey, I’ve had a pretty good run of it here, and if I don’t make it well I think I’ve done a lot of good for others and they’ll eventually get by without me”, rather than a frantic anxiety that would not be able to change the outcome anyway (I don’t know how to make turbulence stop and I know that frantically praying it to stop would do nothing).
GAYS: I find myself much more sympathetic to the LGBT folks, knowing that almost all of the discrimination against them is based on mythology and fairy tales.
NEWS: I notice religion creeping in all over the place in the news, etc., whereas before I mainly noticed the role that religion plays in opposition abortion. Now I notice religion impacting a whole spectrum of women’s health issues, condoms in Africa, worldwide terrorism, the religious blame game after natural disasters, the preponderance of Catholics on the US Supreme Court, laws against buying a car on a Sunday, God Bless You when someone sneezes, national prayer day (days like that I would never have even noticed before), etc. It’s like I see religion almost everywhere.
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