On Losing 99.999999% of My Future

One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoons goes like this: Calvin finds a quarter in the grass and says, “Look! A quarter!! Wow! I’m rich beyond my dreams! I can have anything I want! All my prayers have been answered!”


In the final frame, Calvin is down on his belly, rooting through the grass, saying, “Maybe there’s more,”

For most of my adult life, I thought my three-score-and-ten were a mere prelude to an eternal life to come. Life on Earth was significant only to equip us for an eternity in Heaven.

I am no longer convinced that there is a life beyond this one. In fact, I consider it unlikely. You would think that I would be depressed at having lost over 99.9999999% of my future. Strangely, I am not.

I find that I value this life all the more.

Having become convinced of a different story of how we got here, I am even more amazed than before.

What a privilege it is to be alive even for a few decades! I have found much more than a quarter in the grass. I have love, freedom, work I enjoy, unending interesting things to do, and beauty everywhere. Even consciousness itself is an incredible gift.

I think life is like a game. We each get a turn. When my turn nears its end, I will be gratified at all that has happened. Most fulfilling will be the relationships I’ve had with my family. A close second will be the feeling of accomplishment at having discovered a few things about the game itself. I will be glad I had the good sense to appreciate my turn while it lasted.

For me, that is enough.

I am so very thankful to have found just one quarter.

4 responses to “On Losing 99.999999% of My Future

  1. When I was 6 (and my brother, 5), my Dad would drive us to a bluff overlooking the spill-gates of the Panama Canal. One time, while my brother and I sat on the grass, watching the water cascade down, my father said, “Hey look, a quarter!”. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. A little while later, he said, “Hey look, another quarter! Maybe there’s more around here.” We would all look for quarters but he was the only one who ever found any.

    Long story short . . . I now know he was taking the same quarter and tossing it on the ground when we weren’t looking.

    As you point out, life is precious indeed. Religion is like my father: planting the same coin on the ground, over and over, distracting us and wasting our time as life cascades, in all its glory, behind us.

  2. We, unbelievers, were addressed yesterday by the Pope (during his visit to Spain), by saying that Catholics should pray for atheists, who believe themselves to be Gods.
    I understand a Pope expressing such a shallow proposition even these days, since it’s his “business”.
    What scares me the most, is the large crowd of people around the world that will follow his recommendation. I’m afraid we are still living a subtle and renovated “(Holy) Inquisition”.
    We will never need to destroy faithful people and believers, for we love life and Humanity as it is. But why do believers need to suppress anyone who is different, just to maintain their beliefs?

  3. Pingback: How It Felt to Lose My Faith | Path of the Beagle

  4. Pingback: Scratching Your Way Out of a Room | Path of the Beagle

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