**I just wanted to apologize for not posting anything for, I think, a couple weeks now. After midterms (which went very well, I think), I had to get packed for Canada! I have been pretty busy here as well, what with being exhausted after a twenty-hour drive to visiting all the relatives and playing with little cousins . . . Anyway, enjoy!**
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt,” is a line from Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. This line is one of those things that makes me feel very fuzzy inside when I read it. Here is the context of the line (page 121 in my edition):
“You must have some secrets about the war. Or, not secrets, I guess, but things you don’t want to talk about.” [Valencia]
“I’m proud you were a soldier. Do you know that?” [Valencia]
“Was it awful?” [Valencia]
“Sometimes.” A crazy thought now occurred to Billy. The truth of it startled him. It would make a good epitaph for Billy Pilgrim–and for me, too.
And on the next page, there appears a picture of gravestone that says, “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.”
What a beautiful thing to have as an epitaph. I want to discuss the quotation more in detail, but first I thought it would be interesting to talk about this connection I noticed to Hindu philosophy. *hears collective groan of the Internets* It is not that bad, I promise! :P
Because I have been going to GCS for so many years (as evidenced by my many Thanksgiving place mats), several of the finer points of Hindu belief have been hammered into my mind, including one in particular, that God is omnipresent and we should seek to find his presence in everyone we know. In other (more secular) words, we should try to find the good in everyone. I have been trying to cultivate this attitude ever since I heard of it, because it is still something to strive for without the God part. “Everyone is beautiful, it is your job to figure out how.” That seems like something that could only enrich my life. Only problem is, I am not exactly very good at it. </digression>
The essence of the Vonnegut quotation is the same as this Hindu idea, because they are both about finding the best in things. A lot of religious teaching can actually make a lot of sense, especially when taken out of religious context.
It is a cliché to lie on one’s deathbed in acceptance and contentment. But it is also cliché to lie on one’s deathbed remorseful for everything missed out on. Seeing that “everything was beautiful” seems to be a worthy goal to achieve at the end of one’s life. It would be such a gift to be able to say as I lay dying, “Everything was beautiful.” To find that after going through a whole lifetime’s worth of troubles and difficulties, you also get a lifetime’s worth of joys; to not only be able to think this abstractly but firmly believe it; that would be a true gift.
I have not said much anything about the second half of the statement, “and nothing hurt”. I do not exactly know what to make of it. It is a very singular way of thinking, to be sure. But even though I do not quite understand it, it still speaks to me. It makes me smile.
I just wanted to share that with everyone, and exhort all ten of you who read this (no, I think I have literally ten readers) to read Slaughterhouse-Five. And you know why? ‘Cause it’s just that ballin’.