Friday, March 03, 2006

Try to imagine...

What will it be like the final time you are sick? I mean the real and final time. We know what it is like to be sick. We've been sick all our lives. And, of course, we always get better. But just take a moment and imagine what it will be like to get sick and continue to get sicker, and sicker and never get better. This is a difficult concept, but certainly not impossible. We have been through levels of illness. When I had pneumonia, I found myself rather perceptibly getting sicker and sicker and weaker and weaker. As I got this way I noticed that there were indeed new levels of suffering that seemed rather imminent. When I topped out at one level of suffering, another level seemed to kick in. This new level of suffering portended yet another level of suffering to come. What was so remarkable, and it continues to haunt me today, a day after my most recent hospitalization, is that there are a multiplicitous and seemingly infinite myriad ways of suffering during illness. This has a rather strange masochistic, perhaps shall we say sublime, feeling to it. Almost like sex. And of course, how often have you heard of the comparison of sex and death (certainly among the neurotics)? As I sit here today a number of things occur to me.
First of all, I have witnessed the death process in several people. I would say fifty-fifty between those who died suffering and those who died peacefully, or shall I say faithfully. The difference in contrast is striking. Those who died peacefully seemed to come to terms with their creators and had true understanding of the infinite and eternal journey their souls take. They had trust that their families and friends would be well and tended by God and had a sense of acceptance. They were at rest.
Of those who died in shackles, well, something of their soul was critically unresolved. Either that, or more expressionistically, they were moved to suffer sensualistically, almost akin to the final movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony. Sturm and Drang were their highest hope. To have an experience of dying that would reach ecstatic heights of agony, to complete them, their absolute destruction, this was the grand finale to glory. Exaltation.
I wonder which direction I will go when the time comes.
I kinda think I have an idea.


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