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,
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