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Easter: where it gets a bit more complex. April 20, 2014

Posted by johnbohlinger in Uncategorized.
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Easter:  Where it gets a bit more complex.  

At times, going to church makes me feel a bit like I  felt when I was in 3rd grade being sent by my parents to sit on Santa’s lap; both skeptical, hopeful, a little angry and feeling a little silly.

Today is Easter; there’s no way any Catholic married to a Catholic is going to get away with skipping Easter Sunday Service.

It’s 2014.  The last time I saw my son was Easter 2007.  I could not remember the year; I had to look it up.  Strange right?  Try and block out something horrible long enough and the details grow hazy.  I woke up this morning feeling depression whispering to me like it wanted to seduce me back into a terrible relationship.  “Come with me. We use to be so close. Stop fighting it.  I’ll never leave you.”

I got up, drank half-a-pot of coffee mixed with half n half and too much honey; a sugary indulgence I don’t allow myself often. Then I jumped into the routine.

I put on the button-down shirt and slacks. Combed my hair, the whole shebang.  Got out of the house late,  parked in the auxiliary lot, and walked into Church’s stifling heat created by all these bodies crammed into this tight space. The ceiling fans turned listlessly 20  pitched feet above our sweaty heads. The sun hitting me hot and vengeful through the blinding stained glass.  No seats so we leaned against a wall. No seats BECAUSE IT’S EATER SUNDAY AND EVERY BODDY GOES TO CHURCH ON EASTER SUNDAY. We’ve been through this.

So I’m standing there and see this kid in front of me who, from behind, looks just like my son.  Same crazy curly long brown hair, same just-picked-up-off-the-floor-this-morning clothes, same chain running from his belt-loop to his back-pocket to his probably empty wallet.  His arm around a beautiful girl. Had this been 7 years ago, I would have snuck up behind him and poked him in the back. This would have annoying  the shit of him, but I would not have been able to resist.

I considered that this could be some kind of Back-to-the-Future scenario that will turn this tragedy into a light heart summer-time release romp for the whole fun family.  Next, I thought this was my son’s  doppelgänger who apparently has  better luck then my son did

 Next I wondered if I should give the doppelgänger $20 to take his girl out for an after church treat. Then I thought about how creepy this would probably seem to the cute kid and his cute date and concluded I’m in no condition to engage with anybody.

Then I thought about how this kid is not my son, mine is gone, and this whole Jesus raised from the grave thing that we are currently celebrating doesn’t mean much.  I’m a Catholic, born and raised,  but it’s not quite as black and white, true and false as it once seemed.

Do I believe Jesus once walked the earth?


Do I believe he preached of loving God and all others, was crucified, died and was buried?


He rose from the dead?


He was resuscitated?


He was the Son of God?

Yes, but we are all God’s children.

Is there eternal life?

This is where it gets a bit more complex.  As I’ve said before,  regardless of what you think about life after death in a spiritual sense,  your children are life after death in a physical sense.  You check out but your DNA just keeps going from kids, to grandkids, etc.

But, what if your child beats you to the finish line without fulfilling the biological imperative of procreating?

I looked at my son’s doppelgänger and thought for a minute; we could very well be related.  According to Wiki: “On average, biochemically all humans are 99.9% similar to any other humans”.

I did a little more web research to confirm in a very non scientific way, that this kid and I were related. Here’ s my so-called research bullshit which is enough for me:

“When we get right down to it, we must face the truth that we’re all hopelessly inbred. It’s a question of basic mathematics – there simply aren’t enough ancestors to go around. To understand what I mean, let’s say you were born in 1975, your parents were both born in 1950, your four grandparents were born in 1925, your eight great-grandparents in 1900, and so on. In other words, your number of ancestors doubles every 25 years the further back in time you go.

If you take this back just 1,000 years, you’ll find that you have well over 500 billion ancestors in a single generation. Considering there’s fewer than seven billion people on this planet – and even that is far, far more than any other point in human history – there’s something seriously wrong here. The solution, of course, is that you don’t have 500 billion distinct ancestors, but rather a much, much smaller number of ancestors reappear over and over and over again in your family tree.”

See, this kid looks like my kid because he probably shares many of the same genes. We are all part of life, which just keeps going.  Which brought about another guestion:

Will I see my son in heaven someday, sitting in a heavenly kitchen where my mother is making her fettucini and my dog Budzo is eating scraps off the celestial floor?

Maybe.  That would be awesome.

Is there life after death?

Definitely. Just look around.


http://io9.com/5791530/why-humans-all-much-more-related-than-you-think  *



1. Ryan Connor - January 20, 2015

Hey John,
Insightful post. I’m glad I found you blog. It was kinda random. I’m a premier guitar geek. So I was watching a rig rundown video and my wife asked “who’s that guy?” I’m sure she was just admiring your guitar chops… hmm. Anyway, I said that I really didn’t know. So I googled you (as one does) and found your wiki page. I read about your son’s death and how you pursued a PhD in psychology, and how you started writing this blog. As a counselor and a minister, I spend a lot of time supporting those who are going through the grieving process. You’re right… when it comes to Easter and the hope it offers people of faith, it gets a bit more complex. I’ve studied counseling & psychology at a secular university and pastoral counseling at seminary. It’s isn’t so simple as my secular friends would have it, nor is it so easy as my fundamentalist religious friends would have it. Are we just genetic material passed on from generation to generation? Or, is there something about the individual person that goes beyond the body? Isn’t there something to the construct of the human soul? I believe there is. On the other hand, the old line that “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it” is too easy and uncritical for me. Several years ago, I had to go deeper than the typical easter sermon and the typical secular skepticism that goes along with it. I read N. T. Wright’s tome “The Resurrection and the Son of God.” It took me a while. But, it was completely worth it. It might be a bit more than most people can or would want to chew. But, for a guy who studied psychology at the doctoral level, you might find it helpful. It completely opened my eyes to the hope of easter. Check it out. And, thanks again for a truly insightful blog post.


2. KenW - January 14, 2018

Hello, John,

Like Ryan, I follow your Premier Guitar stuff. I was trying to find a Legacy Drive, as I think it’s form and function would be perfect for me, and I stumbled on your review of the pedal. Being a self described older obnoxious Catholic convert, I could not help but notice the Sacred Heart sticker on the headstock of your DGT.

I am classically trained, and I lead the music at the early mass at a local cathedral staffed by the Redemptorists. I’ve also recorded an album of sacred melodies loosely arranged by myself for solo classical guitar. I did this album in a century old urban parish and used no plugins when mixing down; the reverb is entirely from the room. This album was 1st and foremost a prayer and a meditation, and secondly self therapeutic. I’d like to comp you a copy of it via iTunes. Some of the songs from my album can be found on my soundcloud page (scroll down for the classical stuff, and PLEASE skip my electric stuff, as I sound like a dweeb on electric compared to you!):

johnbohlinger - January 14, 2018

Great guitar playing. Ave Maria really moved me. Thank you

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