Monday, December 26, 2011

All that nonsense, done for another year

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night, and thank God that's done with!

I sit here dressed in one of my Christmas presents. It's called a "Forever Lazy." My hubby knows me too well -- he bought it. Another way to describe it is that I look like a cross between a giant Smurf and Teletubbie. (Sorry, no pictures are forthcoming!) I'm dressed in a sort of blue fleecy onesie for adults, complete with a zippered behind and hoodie. Needless to say, this outfit was made with someone like me in mind. I may actually keep it on hand to wear, year-round, after showers.

We have decided to go skiing in a few weeks (as in snow skiing -- *first time ever*), and I really wanted to wear this outfit under my ski pants and jacket, but Dwaine forbade me to. Wouldn't it be delightfully ironic to be secretly wearing a "Forever Lazy" while learning to ski?

So anyhow, I was sitting in this outlandish gear, doing my evening meditation practice (10 minutes is what I can manage, most days) and feeling grateful for how our holidays were this year. My Dad is still alive, not in the hospital, and the strongest he has been since June, when all this really got bad. (Though he does have a deep-sounding cough that he insists is getting better.) In fact, the doctor was urging him to get more physical activity, and we were talking about him getting out to walk the track at the gym just before he came down with this mountain cedar/cold. Getting out is something he doesn't do enough. I think he has a lack of energy, but also a lack of interest.

Other people we know through church have been hospitalized over the holidays, or have a loved one hospitalized or in frail health. Then, of course, there are those people in so many places around the world where there is never a sense of security, either for food or health or personal safety. Do we know how very blessed we are?

The 10 minutes of stillness has revealed quite a bit of wisdom to me. You wouldn't think it would be enough to make much difference. I had been feeling angry at Dad about things I won't go into -- now, that's a typical feeling that I have had toward him, off and on, my whole life. Somehow, I was able to get past that and also see my deep-seated need for him, and the bond we share. I realized what a terrible loss I would suffer if he died (a problem not too fantastical to contemplate, these days).

I have been able to sit with this most recent experience of cancer, the third major episode in my life where it has ravaged a loved one, with Mom being first, and my mother-in-law second, where I have seen what cancer can do to a person up-close.

Many of my thoughts over this holiday have been of Dad, and just wanting to tend to him and really demonstrate my love for him in simple ways.

I am making progress reading "The Seven-Storey Mountain" by Thomas Merton. It's sort of like scaling a mountain, reading this book. Not an easy read, but I know this is a book that I must read. I can't get by without it, anymore. He has an uncanny way of taking the spiritual pulse of whole countries, and time periods. He certainly got around in his younger days. Much of the description is of taking various freighters back and forth across the Atlantic from America, to England, to France, along with detailed descriptions of various places in each of these locales.

A note on the 10-minute daily practice: Practice is a way Buddhists describe their approach to life, including meditation. I like this description, because it implies you never graduate to something better, or best. You never have to rate yourself, and worry over whether you might get a B-, or even an F. Meditation, while simple, is not easy, and it defies easy characterization. I suspect it is a highly individual experience, just like faith in God. So you just keep practicing, forever. Like life.

1 comment:

  1. health is the biggest wealth, best wishes to you and your family.


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