Saturday, December 15, 2018

On humility


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“…Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Shelley, Ozymandias

About Humility

He got up at a meeting, fresh from 25 years in state prison for murdering a family of four while drunk, and said:

“Before I went to prison, I prayed for patience.
What I got in prison was lessons in patience.”

He was on the AA circuit now, guest hosting meetings and bouncing around the state as a rough type of celebrity. His story hard and brittle, his punishment severe and all of it only slightly tinged with any sort of redemption. His was a cautionary tale for people trying to make gods out of lesser role models in order to justify and forgive their own failures as human beings. Patched patches of Bondo’d spittle like the rest of us.

The family he killed were mangled and burned into charcoal in the wreck of their car outside the town of Lone Tree California.

Life teaches you lessons at the level of pain required for you to learn the lesson life is trying to teach you, at least that’s what I thought what was he was getting at. In the years since, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about getting something, it’s about the process of becoming nothing. Life is about subtraction, not addition. It’s about learning well enough to teach others, in spite of ourselves, though what we teach is sometimes only our lack and our failures.

In the Navy, before I was 20, I learned a practiced arrogance. As a hospital corpsman stationed in a small dispensary in Hawaii (Lualualei) I met patients, took their x-rays, drew their blood and ran their lab work. When needed, I cleaned them with a straight razor and sewed stiches into arms, legs and heads to make everything sort of straight. When I was done, I prescribed them pills and then filled and typed up their bottles of medication. If I felt I was in over my head, I’d call a helicopter to swoop in and take the patient to Tripler army hospital.

To be honest, I was always in over my head – like a Phys-ed teacher running a nuclear power plant. I also was the housekeeper and the keeper of a very funny official log of my activities. For some reason, none of this has come back to haunt me, legally.

I went on to become a Registered nurse, an open heart, a trauma nurse, an ICU boss and a hospital supervisor. I taught Trauma, advanced critical care certification and some other fancy stuff. I was pretty hot stuff.


Then I fell a long way over years of time. Now, every other year I attend a class on basic CPR. I sit for six hours and listen to someone talk. I don’t question anything, I don’t argue when they are wrong. When it’s my turn to demonstrate the skills I’ve learned, I try to do it earnestly and exactly the way I’ve been told. I am no longer arrogant, I’ve been humbled, though I still squeak like I’m sitting on my balls.




Friday, November 30, 2018

Clarity



‘I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth…’

‘Some kind of night into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what's not there.

Mazzy Star

Sometimes the battle is getting others seeing the truth of you, no matter how forceful you say it, or what the documentation you bring to the argument. Sometimes it’s not enough to be clear even though you could not be more clear.

I have used the start of the following song for years as a meditative device. I sing it under my breath over and over. It’s my go to chant that’s worked for decades.

It's a Door’s song about Otis Redding -- but I substitute the word god for the word Otis and have found it makes all the difference.

It’s my religion.

“Poor Otis dead and gone
Left me here to sing his song.
“Pretty little girl with a red dress on.”
Poor Otis dead and gone”

God is dead, but I’m not – My purpose is to sing about life, while lamenting the loss of the father -- Understanding that with the gift of life comes the promise of death, and the place where all things become new again.

New stuff raised in the waste and effort of dusty bones.






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