Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Responsibility ... Unyielding, and Unavoidable



You see, the hell of it is that I do not want any more responsibility … not of any kind, sort or description. I am weary, tired, spent, and yes … probably lazy. But I want to avoid any entanglement in individual accountability. I am through with campaigning, crusading, and the championing of causes. I want to blissfully cruise through the remainder of my decades here on this mortal globe sipping delightfully cold and refreshing beverages and basking in the company of funny, pleasant, and complimentary companions. This does not seem, to me, to be an outrageous desire. I am not holding out for riches, lavish accoutrements, or decadent comforts. A simple diet of daily pleasantries and niceties will do just fine (thank you.)


But alas… life is not served up in accordance with my stipulated selections, on my individualized copy, of an imagined ‘room-service menu’ for living. And on 20 December, of 2006, I was confronted with the nasty little reality of personal responsibility, yet again. There I was … ensconced in the Intensive Care section of a local hospital … feeling myself to be very much the weak, wounded, and greatly in need of nurturing and care, Victim of physical mishap. When, at the unearthly hour of midnight, as I was having my “vitals” measured yet again … there appeared before me the figure of some strange Being who looked upon me as one would upon a stray dog wandered into One’s back-yard, uninvited and unwelcome. No introduction was offered … no overture toward civility or gentility … just a demand to see “the wound.”

I surmised that this person must be the surgeon that I had been fore-warned of (by the physician admitting me to the hospital), by surveying his attire and comportment. He was clothed in surgical garb, head to toe (including the shoe-coverings, at the floor end, all the way to the hair-covering, surgical cap.) And he presented himself with the dictatorial finesse of something between John Wayne and George Patton (with just enough Donald Trump to trigger near-nausea.) “You must have immediate and aggressive surgery to stem the spread of that infection and you must have it as soon as possible.” was his proclaimed summation of my state. “But you have no idea of the progress that the antibiotics have already made, against the infection, since just yesterday” I offered. “Makes no difference,” he declared “you have no idea what can become of something like that if we do not go after it with aggressive and thorough surgery (then he went into graphic descriptions that I will spare you here … all with an attitude that bespoke a desire to intimidate, overwhelm, and make me as subservient as possible as quickly as possible.)

Well! … (as those of you, who know me well, know, all too well) intimidation, overwhelming, and/or rendering subservient, have never been tactics that have met with any measure of appreciable success, with me. And the combined experiences visited upon me by the United States Marine Corps; a legion of doctors vying for control over my son’s life over the 30+ years that we managed his cerebral palsy treatments, care, and therapies; plus the untold vagaries and abuses of dealing with and surviving the corporate world; have tempered the fabric of my Being, far beyond any possibility of malleability, by the performance staged by this individual. So I told him “No!” (a word that he was obviously not accustomed to hearing.)


My point here is to let you, My Dear Reader, know that I was (prior to that moment) very much in the mental/spiritual mode of “Woe is me … I am not well … I am wounded ... Please care for and nurture me back to health … Take from me all responsibility and rock me in the cradle of blissful dependency.” The visitation of the aforementioned individual snapped me back into the reality of life’s continuum of individual accountability … Damn!

What followed was five hours of lying awake in the solitude of that hospital room reflecting on a range of considerations including (but not limited to) my Dad’s death in March of 2006, from the very same kind of infection that had its hold on me (and how that outcome may have differed had he been able to act on his own behalf)… the total aloneness that was mine in that moment in my life (with recall of many other such moments from youth, to then, when isolated solitude was my awareness) … the blessing and wonder of loving friends and family that I have as my most treasured resource … and other stuff … all of which concluded (at 5 AM) with my determined resolve to kick butt, and take renewed charge of my life, straightway.


I write this bit of insight so that you may see that I too have those “moments” that you may feel are yours alone to struggle with. I want you, in the stillness of this moment, to know that we … you and I … are in this “life thing” together … along with all of our accompanying accumulations of doubts, fears, wearinesses, discouragements, and confusions. And we can have a giggle and a sigh of understood unity as we make this shared moment one of mutual acceptance and understanding. For this, My Dear One, is why we are brought together in our pilgrimages … to make the journey more enjoyable, entertaining, and pleasant for each other. To that end, I remain, as always, Your faithful Friend and constant Servant,

18 comments:

Sandra Ree said...

No!

Good word.

I too have felt that I do not want any more responsibility, not of any kind, I am so weary, tired and spent. More so lately than any other time in my life. And so I create pleasant diversions in my life to sustain me.

Thank you for your insight John-Michael, I know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

I went into anaphylaxis (from a new medication) 1 1/2 years ago and have suffered anxiety since. My problem is that I often want too much control over what will happen to me, and must learn to let go and trust. In a way, that is a responsibility to myself though. It is difficult and I'm certainly always comforted by others experiences in this world. They make me feel less alone in the journey. Thank you for sharing. Lisa L.

San said...

You had me on the edge of my seat with this post, John-Michael. I guess it resonated with me, or in me, strongly. I haven't been in the same hospital dilemma, but I've had to choose responsibility and yes, it's hard. Excruciatingly hard.

When you have a chance, you may want to read my post about Meg, a cancer survivor who has suffered SO much, lost a lot but has taken Responsibility for her health. With a captal R.

This synchronicity that keeps occurring between friends' posts in blogland is really wonderful, isn't it?

aims said...

I would think there are more of us who want to leave responsibility behind us - than those who want to take control.

Having lost the ability to be responsible for anything when I had the mental breakdown - well - it changed me forever. I am a better person for it JM. So much so that it is almost something that could be recommended for those individuals who can't see the world because the inside of their ass is in the way. :0)

One thing that can be said for it all though is that it is a place I would still be in if not for the loving kindness of a few. I find that fact to be absolutely amazing. Of course I had to be part of the equation - but still.....

lime said...

i am certainly glad you made it through that ordeal so i could have the pleasure of your company on this sphere....oh, and to be reminded of that which i so very much needed to be reminded of this very evening....dang, you're just not allowed to be that timely! ;)

love ya!

John-Michael said...

I would hold you tenderly ... rock you gently ... and hum a tune of restful lullaby ... as You prompt my Fatherly tendecies to nurture and comfort my Spiritual Kin. I would shield you ... if only for this instant ... from the intrusive, invasive, and unrelenting demands of all of those elements of life and living that are part of the bonds and ties formed by your commitments and loving cares. This is the response of my Soul to the cries of yours as I hear your voice, my Darling Sandra.

Lovingly ...

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Good for you; I guess it all worked out as you are still here and putting your lovely thoughts out into the blogisphere for us to read. Thank you for sharing your innermost workings with us all.
Peace, Judi

John-Michael said...

Were You and I alone, in a moment of shared friendship, I would take your hands in mine ... silently look, across the space between us, into your eyes ... wait for the clouds of anxious fear and uncertainty to clear away ... to be replaced by clarity of open questioning ... and offer this gentle Gift of assistance, to you. Please, my Dear Lisa, allow your Self the relief of implementing one small, non-intrusive, variance in your inner-vocabulary.

Replace one word, in your present use, with another. I ask that you (please) exchange "I really want to learn" in place of "I must learn." If you exercise the positive spiritual reinforcement of desirable motivation (in your thinking and speech), you will find your Self taking a responsible and enjoyable charge of your thought processes and emotions. The use of "must," "have to," "need to," "should," (you will be amazed at how often you find yourself, habitually, using these fear, guilt, and anxiety creating words in your thinking and speech) all generate immediate and automatic tightness and tension in your vascular and muscular responses. Exchanging them for "want to," "will," "desire," "yearn for," "will enjoy," and similar positive expressions of responsible control, will render innate benefits in relaxation and comfort. This is a working and living Truth and fact. I promise!

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

For every one of those testing and trying moments in your life, My darling San ... fraught with all of the fears and uncertainties that accompanied them ... I am selfishly grateful. For, I benefit from the resulting beauty and wonder of this lovely Person who I have known You to have become. And I relish the prospect of our becoming still more in the joy of our sharing Life (with its incumbent challenges) on into our future Friendship-enhanced pilgrimage together. I do love and appreciate Life's Gift of "Us," Dear Friend.

John-Michael said...

I do delight, My Dearest Aims, in the wondrous beauty of You in my own personal "equation" of Life. For your Presence in my world makes coping with those who enjoy their "proctological perspective" [grin] far easier. Bless them all ... for they do, indeed, have their rights to be whatever the hell they choose to be. (And I enjoy my own rights to be this strangely unique thing that is ME!)

Lovin' Ya!

John-Michael said...

How I do enthusiastically and thankfully enjoy the marvelous wonder of shared moments and interludes with you, my most Darling Lime! The treat of all that is You, is refreshing and uplifting in my life-walk. And I thank you for the consummate compliment of your generous inclusion of Me in the dynamic mix of your life-dance. I do love (and appreciate) You!

John-Michael said...

Thank you, Judi, for your openness and receptiveness to my "innermost workings." For they are, after all, all ... and the most True ... that I have to offer.

namaste

Suldog said...

You continue to make my time on the internet something worthwhile, John-Michael. You are truly unique and special. I am blessed to have found you (Or did you find me? No matter. The outcome is the same, and wonderful.)

John-Michael said...

SulDog, My Friend, I was writing my response to your very kind message ... when it developed "complications!" ... as evidenced in this.

I love you. My friend.

Mrs. C said...

Well, your post sure resonates. I believe our bodies are our own and our children are given into OUR care, not the doctor's. I sure associate. I think sometimes I wonder if things are medically necessary or if the doctor wants another vacation, or if he's "aggressively" treating so if things go wrong, he avoids a lawsuit, etc. etc.

As for my own treatment or my childrens', I'll listen and then make decisions I think best. Hard to do though, when you or your loved one is unwell. Sometimes I think there is a lot of medical bullying out there, John-Michael.

I hope you are well now and enjoying the fall. (Though, really, there isn't "fall" in Florida. There is summer and cooler summer LOL!)

CrazyCath said...

You have just echoed some of the many confusing and complex feelings I have when ill.
And one of the numerous conversations with those in medical profession who are so rude as to not even identify themselves, but then think they can remove my choices. They are wrong btw. As ill as I get, like you I tell them "no". They are getting used to it!

Excellent post.

John-Michael said...

In fact, my Dear Mrs. C, we (in the elementary school that I attended as a child) actually had a set of "sample" leaves that were passed from classroom to classroom so that we could all see and touch the marvels of coloured leaves that had fallen in the Autumn season in Northern states. Such a wonder! [smile]

I am glad to offer something that brings resonance in your spirit.

John-Michael said...

I applaud your courage in the face of such moments of physical and emotional vulnerability, Sweet CathDaughter. And I admire your patience with those who must be "trained", and sometimes re-trained, to respect and honour the Personhood of Another.

Lovingly ...

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