Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Bless this poor elderly man's heart. I just wish he had not given himself the death sentence.
The feeling as we age that we have not done enough, nor can we even begin to hope to do more for the sake of righteousness, that I know.
I wish he could have lived twenty more years growing in inner peace.
I won't comment on whether this was a mental health issue, a misguided spiritual emergency, or even an actual calling. I am just sorry he suffered.
Basically it was a way of saying he cared about the issue and about the many people still being injured by it. It might have more impact than fasting or going to jail, certainly more than marching -- but the persuasive influence, on anyone who doesn't agree with our position, may be all too easily dismissed: by people saying,"Just another crazy preacher etc." Or it may be unexpectedly effective, given that racial chauvinism is not a rational phenomenon.
And yes, there are no doubt people who will miss the guy. Whether or not his choice led him to greater suffering, though, who could say? Greater suffering than the long term feeling of being 'tethered to a dying animal,' as Yeats put it, culminating in the worst case with undeath in a good nursing home?
Old age has one thing in common with the world's various collective ills: "It's not a problem; it's a quandary." That is, there are no solutions, and while I think his choice was mistaken, it wasn't my decision to make.
I hear that. My heart is with him.
By the way Forrest, I always get quite a kick out of your anti-nursing home references! I believe we went around the merry-go-round on the horrors of being cared for in a group setting before but I ran out of steam. . . I get the feeling that the anti-group care sentiment is sort of an Ayn Rand-ish thing. Better to stumble out and die in either a dramatic way or a rugged way, so grand and glorious to die alone! Wild and Free. I realize there are horror stories about care in various sorts of institutions, and I myself have worked in several of them, some bad and some the center of great fun for both myself and the people living in them.
Fun and Community. If you are old and need medical care to get through your day, you are going to need that whether it is in a residential place or if you are all by yourself with your own private staff. Right now my mother is doing the latter and I think she'd be better off medically and mentally in a good facility.
So, is it being in a nursing home that is the dreaded evil or is it being old? Because there are beautiful souls to meet in nursing homes, both in the staff and the residents...But then I love community, so I am not fearing such an outcome for myself at all and have made it clear to my kids, that I want to check in as soon as it becomes necessary! I will be just fine. Probably have the time of life.
Although I don't suppose this fellow, this dear Methodist minister was trying to avoid such a thing, dying in a nursing home, he was definitely thinking that he was following Christ and Buddhist monks it seems.
The story just about wrenched my heart clean out.
Granted that old age looks to be God's way of making people eager to leave Earth... and that home care can be potentially as dehumanizing -- My (limited, it's true) experience of nursing homes is that you have very nice people working their butts off, underpaid and usually too busy to socialize as much as they would like, keeping a great many people on a ghastly treadmill of stroke, recovery, stroke, etc. If my marbles ever completely drool away into my socks, I believe I would rather be taken out hunting on an iceberg, as the Eskimos were said to deal with this sort of thing.
I have a truly awful poem about my mother's death, in case I haven't already bothered you with it...
Well, my mother is very ill now. . . You can "bother" me with it, but if after the first few lines I sink into despair, perhaps I won't finish it.
When I worked in nursing homes I got some very good life lessons. I was barely 30 then and was struggling with a bit of chip on my shoulder. As I talked with various very old people I began to take a hint. One elderly person would wheel her chair into the sun and meditate, others would always show concern for others. Some elderly people were there in their late nineties, after falling of a tractor and died after a brief struggle. with their families around them, who told stories of how well the person had treated other in their life.
Other people blamed and hated others until the very end. So I thought, you know what, it pretty much looks like forgiving others, being outdoors a lot, working hard, being nice to your family and praying is probably going to season my soul a lot better than being bitter and griping to the very end.
Sometimes of course neurological changes do not allow a person to season their outward personality in this way, but I realized that in general, my 'tude could shape up.
Anyway, since I am not personally there yet, I cannot say for sure whether I will want to go the iceberg route. . .
So, I shouldn't be talking. I prefer the working until I fall off a tractor idea but it might not go that way.
So tell me the poem if it is appropo here, but forgive me if I only get halfway though before psychoactive drugs are needed to get me through the rest of the day. Although all I have are caffeine and Kava. But you get my drift.
Another time for the poem, then. The last two lines rhyme badly (though they're the only possible ending. So it goes.)
It is our wanting Life that makes Her cruel;it is too dangerous to be Her fool.