Question 5: What do you think of Syria?
The Deli was particularly busy on this day. I got to sleep late so I wound up going in at lunchtime. He seemed stressed. He wasn’t keeping up with the orders as well as he would’ve liked. I ordered a Bacon Egg & Cheese Croissant and a coffee.
He spilled my coffee while he was adding the sugar to it. He looked so frazzled. His shoulders sagged. He apologized. I said “No, no, it’s alright, I’m just glad you’re not burned.”
I didn’t really have anywhere to be for another hour or so, so I ate in. I waited until the rest of the lunch orders went through and took my time sipping my coffee. Once the place slowed down again and there were only two or three customers, we got to talking about The Daily Question. Somehow this particular question wound around to talking about The End. I said it depends how you view The End. He said that people have been predicting the end since the time of Christ. I laughed and said, oh yes, even long before that.
Then I said that in Tarot, the Death card represents drastic change; the end of one state and the beginning of a new one. He said, in a quiet, almost apologetic tone, that Tarot is occult, and he would never associate with such things.
After that response, I tried to appeal to him with examples from within his faith. The Gnostics emphasized Christ’s dual nature (divine and human), compared to the Chalcedonians (who thought he was all human), and the Monophysites (who thought he was solely divine). There’s a Gnostic text that suggests that Christ had to die as a mortal in order to be reborn to his divinity. Isn’t that the same idea?
He said no. The End is what it says in The Bible, which is a fundamental change in all reality.
Then the deli got busy again. I sat, and I sipped my coffee and waited. I realized I was watching him the way a cat watches a mouse. I thought that if the sun explodes, or the sea rises, and all of humanity or even the Earth is wiped out, it won’t change physics. I wanted to convince him of my view. I wanted him to know about death and rebirth and the constant cycle of change.
I realized that I was only staying there because I wanted to pick this fight. I felt sheepish, headed out, and we both waved goodbye with smiles on our faces.