Gone

Yesterday a little light went out from the world. My father in law, Joseph Abela passed away in his sleep.

Joseph hailed from the tiny speck that is Malta; an island nation that has weathered countless storms over the course of its long history. The earliest European civilisations inhabited the archipelago, which sits a stone’s throw away from Italy. Malta has been invaded, attacked, occupied, enslaved and conquered more than its fair share. Through all of this it has persisted. All I can say is these Maltese are tough cookies.

Even now Malta holds its head up high as a tiny but prosperous member of the European Union. A genuine jewel of the Mediterranean I intend to see it one day.

Joseph exemplified the stubbornness that has kept this nation going when all hope has seemed lost so many times. Even during the end, as his life eventually drained away he was fighting: unwilling to give a single inch of ground.

I tell you what, he didn’t care less about political correctness either. He was fun.

Science in recent decades has lost something. It’s headed along a progressivist path, trying to reduce all of human experience and history to nothing more than quantum quirks. Standing with Joe’s large family was a moving experience. Science would like us to believe that we are not much more than collectives of cells, acting as one. Yesterday I saw something more. A life was ending. Experiences, stories, arguments, knowledge: collected over a lifetime of punishment and adversity was fading away with each struggling breath.

When a priest came in and administered Last Rites, I observed something else taking place. As relatives recited prayers and blessings and the priest gave sacraments I saw what human beings have become and are capable of. We are not bags of cells, sloshing across a rocky planet in an indifferent universe. We are stories. We create beauty when we perceive simple things. Emotion, meaning and wisdom have emerged from millenia of evolution.

We are far more than the sum of our parts. In this way emergence is creation.

Joe and everything he was ultimately emerged from the firmament, and yesterday, in a kind of reversal, he reentered the slipstream.

Rest in Peace.

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