This life has an inevitable ending. Until then, we have physics, eternity and laundry.

Connie Mason Michaelis
Connie Mason Michaelis

Do you give any thought to eternity? Is it possible that something or someone will continue forever? Father Richard Rohr cleverly said, "Aging is enlightenment at gunpoint."

And as we face the inevitable end of this life, we're faced straight on with some serious questions. There is no doubt that the older you get, topics like eternal life feel more important.

Comedian George Carlin once quipped, "I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me— they're cramming for their final exam." So where do you go for answers about eternity — to holy books or science?

Aaron Freeman, writer and performer, gave a short speech on NPR's "All Things Considered" titled "You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral." According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you will ever be gone.

Freeman said: "You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing family about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed … that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle … remains in this world."

Sounds good to me, and it certainly works well for the reincarnationist!

And when thinking about eternity, the recent photos from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are absolutely mind-blowing. We are looking at galaxies located 4.2 billion light years away. Who can comprehend what that means? Siri just told me the equivalency in miles is 2.469 x 10 to the 22 power. I still have no idea what that means.

But the serious question is what comes after that — what is at the end of what the telescope can see? Is that where heaven is? It is enough to drive one crazy. How can we perceive something that is eternal in time or space?

In contrast, the great mystics, prophets and teachers speak of an eternal life that is a gift of God that resides inside us. Jesus said believing was the key to eternity. So where or what is this thing called eternity? Is it in outer space, in the law of thermodynamics, or is it a mystery that resides in our hearts?

I close with tongue-in-cheek. As I was doing laundry the other day, it occurred to me that certain things are eternal — laundry being one of them, along with dirty dishes and dust. Of all the activities of life, there are certain ones that are eternal — like it or not.

James Webb had the world's greatest telescope named after him, but someone was doing his laundry! Suppose we believe the physicist that not one Btu of heat or vibration of our bodies will be lost when we pass on.

In that case, I have this sneaking suspicion that laundry is waiting on the other side.

Find Connie’s book, “Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging,” at

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: This life has an ending, but we have physics, eternity and laundry.