Saturday, September 4, 2010

The School's Trees: My Story (The End, Part 2)

Y'know... I've been dreading this ever since I woke up. I'm nervous because I'm about to reveal the core philosophy that makes me get up in the morning, that gives me comfort when things are going wrong, and makes me happy to just think about. What makes reality....real. What makes life worth it for me. It's something that I've been thinking about for awhile, and have always wanted to talk about, but now that I"m here, about to do this, I realize that it's possibly the most nerve-wracking thing someone can do. But I want to anyway.

So here we go, kiddies. I can't guarantee that my philosophy is complete, mature, or even right, but it is mine. It is my truth. And I think that's what you guys are here for, so you're gonna get it.

I've been Catholic for most of my life, some might say for all my life. Unlike a lot of people my age I never didn't believe in a personal God. It wasn't that I didn't think about it or question it. It's that, from the time I was little, I knew that God existed, and that He had a very direct hand in my life. I'm not going to say that I don't have my doubts about God being loving, because I do. Terrible things happen in this world every second to strangers and loved ones alike. But I push through it anyway, confident somewhere deep down that free will was given to us because God decided to err on the side of trusting us, so that way the beautiful things that make us live and grow can happen in a way we'd understand better. Good by an invisible being is no good at all, and I think God knows that. Which is why I think we have free will. So that way God can have good things happen that we can understand as being what they are: gifts.

Despite my faith, however, there is one thing that has always disturbed me to my core, which never seems to disturb anyone else in the same way. Sometimes it just irks me, but there are times when I really do get depressed about it.

We die. All things fade.

I guess why this disturbed me so much was the loss of a body. Everything that I loved to do (painting, writing, music, role-playing, etc.) had a physical element that was irreplaceable. That it seemed to not bug anyone else angered me. What's the point of life if we lose our bodies? I concluded that, even though God existed, He must not be very loving, because we were in a trap that gave us the joy of bodily things for only a short amount of time, only to snatch it away. Reading my Bible (at least at the time) didn't help me at all, especially in the Old Testament, where you find the author of Ecclesiastes wailing that all things are vanity because we die. This didn't help, and while I had been taught about a resurrection it had never gotten through the horror, anger, and despair that I felt about death. Just as I started to actively ask myself about these questions, I started going out with Jamie, and struggled with these questions throughout (and past) our relationship. So when she suddenly broke up with me all I had were my questions, and no answer that had actually satiated me. My icons (one of which you can see up above) grew darker and sadder, and I knew I needed to do something. While I had stopped believing in goodness I hadn't stopped believing in God, which was terrifying. I needed to feel something positive again, to see something that would let me know that everything was OK, that I was wrong. That life had purpose and meaning.

Enter Clannad.

It took me watching the show six times to realize it, but that really was the answer that I was looking for.


The return of the soul to the body that it couldn't go without.


That God was so merciful as to give back that which we can't go without, by virtue of being human. That God was so good and loving as to realize that there were some things we couldn't negotiate on, so He made the single most important concession in the history of humanity, and gave us the thing that would make us happy forever: our own bodies. And all we have to do is ask and believe that it'll happen, and it will. How can that not be the most kind and merciful thing you've ever heard of? We get them back! We don't have to try to "get along" without what was once the most familiar part of our existence. We don't have to move past it, or find a new meaning that we can't find because our bodily memories will always be a part of us. We get them back. And all we have to do is ask.

In this way Clannad is the most realistic show I've ever seen, because it captures the simple reality of it all. There is no great price we have to pay, we just have to believe that God will do it for us and be ready for something completely unexpected. Clannad is truly art, because it actually represents life in a way that we can understand and grow from.

Now what shocked me was that what I'd realized by watching this show had been with me all along, in the form of Christianity. Say what you will about the abuses of Christianity in its 2,000 year long existence. Say what you will about the incredibly dense teachers, lecherous priests, and scandalous nuns of the Church. They're called "failures" for a reason, because they failed the great reality: that we're saved from death and meaninglessness. Everything that we are can go on, because we'll never actually fade. Granted, it'll take some time, but isn't that the case with anything that's truly worth it?

After a year of thinking, questioning, and screaming at the heavens I have my answer from God. It took 22 years to get here, but I have it now. There is a happy ending that we can know and understand. The God that I always knew was there but doubted has been shown to be both existent and loving. And because of this, I can move on to live and give everything that is inside of me. Life, while not perfect, is wonderful. And whether I see it or not, there is a happy end.

For everyone who wants it.

This is the story that I'd wanted to share with you from the beginning of the blog. I hope you enjoyed it, because it was one of the most rewarding things that I've done. I greatly enjoyed writing out my thoughts and watching this amazing show again, for the sixth time. 

I would like to thank all the people who have made this blog what it is. To Brandon and Sean, my co-posters, who have each added their own to something that belongs to all of us. Especially to Taylor, who made this blog what it is with his constant work splicing and uploading videos for all of the posters on this blog. All without a complaint, and overwhelmingly on time. But I'd especially like to thank God, who put this show in my life and used it to get me into a place I can live happily. This is all thanks to Him, and for that my gratitude cannot be adequately expressed.

And so silence is the proper response.

I do have one request for the ending of this blog post

If you disagree please state it rationally and clearly. I understand that I probably hit quite a few buttons, but if you must disagree with me do so in a way that won't force me to delete your comment because of it's...unsavoriness. I welcome a good discussion, and always have. But a quarrel is nothing I'm interested in, and those wishing to pick a fight will find themselves ignored and deleted.

I would like to thank all of you who have read this blog, be it from the beginning or just this, my last post as main writer of The School's Trees. 

Yes, that's right, I'm stepping down. My reasons are simple: I'm done. 

While I will still be on The School's Trees, it will be more of an administrative role, finding other people who want to tell their story about Clannad. These people will fill in the holes of the narrative that I intentionally never filled in, will bring their philosophies to the tapestry that is this blog. While this is the end of one era, try to think of it as the beginning of a new time for this blog. And every once in a while I'll put up a post about a topic Clannad-related that's on my mind, as the muses take me. In the next few weeks expect the next main writer, CarpeGuittarem, to start up his blog posts on the alternate world arcs. I'm really excited to see what Carpe has in store for us, so please!  

Stick around.

It's been an honor and a joy writing for you.

-Liam Francis Traveller