Monday, May 16

Life #7

This is perhaps my most defining life and the one most confounded with regret and questions. As with most of my lives, it is my death and what led up to it which stands out above everything else. From this life came my mistrust of Christianity, not that the recent antics of their clergy have exactly endeared me to the religion. I do try to overcome this bias. No one should ever be judged by one inflated, cartoonish facet of their lives. I've met plenty of good Christians as well as bad. Every religion has its extremists and bad apples.

As you are already aware, I've come to a bad end in nearly all my lives. The thing that has always bothered me about my past life in the 1100s however is that I feel to blame, at least partially, for the way it ended. Had I been more self-aware, I might have lived longer. I have been drowned, starved, pushed in a snake pit, strangled, stoned and set on fire, hanged by the neck until dead, died of stomach cancer, and jumped from a speeding car to escape my kidnappers. Approximately 900 or so years ago, I was stabbed in the back while I was drunkenly stumbling back to my room in the dark.

Say what you will about my various deaths, being stabbed to death while drunk is an absolute embarrassment. I can't narrow the area down better than saying it was somewhere in the north of England, somewhere near or possibly in Scotland. I was a bard and childhood friend of the lord of the area. I
was part of his household, entertained his guests, and we were as close as brothers.

At that time, the Pagan religion was on the wain, mainly because it could give your Righteous neighbors a reason to invade and take your lands "for God." (Some things never really change all that much, do they?) For the sake of appearances, we were saddled with a weaselly, sour faced little priest who never was happy unless everyone around him was miserable at the thought of what awaited them in the afterlife. Much to the amusement of all, I made a complete mockery of the little man and his faith on a daily basis, though if I had listened more closely, I might have realized it was a nervous laughter.

I had always thought it was the priest who stabbed me in the back, but in recent years it has come to me that maybe I was wrong on that score. The problem is, I never saw who killed me. I was drunk. It is the one reason (aside from my father's example) that I don't drink now or in any way blunt my mind with any kind of illicit substances. It is also possibly the reason I never sleep soundly or for long. Some little niggling doubt about my safety always wakes me up within a few hours and has since I was very young.

It was dark in the hall that led to my room. All the torches were out. Something that should have roused my suspicion, but I was drunk, and it did not. And then... a sharp pain, low and on the right side. I bled out pretty quickly, a combination of alcohol and a nicked liver or sliced arteries. Never been a doctor so I don't know the mechanics of bleeding out beyond watching CSI.

For years I thought it was the mealy mouthed little priest silencing his tormentor. It never occurred to me until recently that anyone else would have had reason to stab me in the dark. There was one other person who would have had cause to kill me however, if only to keep people from thinking he was hostile to Christianity. We were like brothers, but it could have been my lord. He certainly plied me with alcohol that night. Despite the fact that he laughed as loudly as anyone else when I would make fun of the priest, we all knew the priest could call down our neighbors on us with little provocation. 

It could be that I was sacrificed on the altar of convenience once again.

I don't know who killed me 900 years ago, but when I had the thought that it might have been him... I cried a little. It was such an aha moment. Why didn't I ever think of it before? I'll likely never know which of them it was, but it had never occurred to me that it could be anyone other than the priest. It feels like it could be a true thought. I honestly don't know if I cried because it is true because just the thought of such treachery hurts right down to my soul, or because it was an uncharitable thought unworthy of our friendship. 

I always thought my trust issues stemmed from my childhood, but it's also possible this life had a lot to do with it as well. I take my wicked sense of humor from this life, and perhaps my sense of boundaries. I watch people now more than speaking. I observe them without necessarily mocking them for their flaws. Mockery after all, when used correctly, is just another tool to use in the name of social adjustment. Mockery for the sake of mockery however is just cruel.

 A wise old owl sat on the oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Now why aren't we all like that wise old bird.

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