Jeremy Stein - Journal

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Slowly approaching

Statistically, I’ve got 40-something years before I die. That’s a good chunk of time to do important things, make something of my life, etc. But it doesn’t matter how successful or interesting or happy my life may be. In each moment, whether it be used for industry, pleasure, or loitering, death is moving steadily closer. It may be far away and it may be moving slowly, but it is always moving.

When I was a child, I thought up the most horrifying science fiction plot I could imagine. A probe, a hovering black mechanical probe is hunting me down. I imagine it looks something like the mind probe that approached Princess Leia for her interrogation. (It was likely the horror of that brief scene that inspired this idea.) The probe is not moving quickly. I am in no immediate danger. I can outpace it by simply walking. The horror is that the probe never stops. No matter what I do or where I go, the probe continues slowly toward me. I imagine that it might surprise me the first time I encounter it. Perhaps I barely escape its instrument of death. I run away and then I watch it from a distance. I realize that the only way to keep it from killing me is to get far from it. I go home, and quickly prepare to travel far away, to the other side of the world. Somehow I manage to get a flight that same day, and as I sit on the airplane, just before it takes off, I see the probe cross over the airport fence. But it’s too late. We take off.

I settle in my new home, in my new country. The probe is far away. I won’t have to worry about it for a long time. But as the years pass, I know the whole time that the probe continues to pursue me. It travels across the ocean, alone, undetected, and undeterred. I’m not exactly certain when the probe will reach me. I know it’s getting closer. I scan the horizon constantly. I have trouble sleeping. I can never know whether the probe is hundreds of miles away, or just around the corner. The only thing I know for sure is that it’s closer now than it was.

October 17, 2006 5 Comments.


  1. Benjamin replied:

    I rememember you discussing something like that growing up. Not to be callous but it reminded me of this joke.

    And that black probe in star wars was scary I remember watching it down at the cabin. For some reason that probe is more scary than when they torture Han even more explicitly in the empire strikes back.

    October 17th, 2006 at 10:00 am. Permalink.

  2. Shannon Costello replied:

    A perspective worthy of Edgar Allan Poe…

    And I agree that the probe scene is scarier than the Han torture scene.

    October 21st, 2006 at 8:23 pm. Permalink.

  3. Jess replied:

    For some reason this reminds me of the Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, & White) by Ted Dekker.

    October 29th, 2006 at 8:13 am. Permalink.

  4. Shannon Costello replied:

    still haven’t read any Ted Dekker, Jess! :)

    October 29th, 2006 at 9:36 pm. Permalink.

  5. Heather Lehmann replied:

    Hi. I came here via Jess’s blog. You’re right, death is moving closer…and there would be absolutely no point to anything apart from the reality of being with Christ in Heaven. It makes me think of that verse- Ecclesiastes 3:11 He (God) has also set eternity in the hearts of men. A good book to read on this subject is “Don’t waste your life” by John Piper

    February 27th, 2007 at 10:28 am. Permalink.

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