Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hollow Where it Used to be

Why is it when you take something made of flesh out of your body, you're not just hollow there? I mean, it's odd, but over time, your body just sort of fills in. For a while there is a cavity. But it doesn't last long. What fills in doesn't do any good really. Just tissue. What was there had some reason for being, in general it made me feel better. The tissue is just filler and there's nothing you can do, or hope for that would turn it into the thing that you once had. All I can do is hope I don't cave in.

I know that after it was taken I could sort of remember what it felt like, back when that part of my body was where it used to be. "Nature abhors a vacuum", is another way to say it. And though I'll miss those things that I came with, I won't know it over time... unless of course there is scar tissue or "adhesions". Which I suppose is inevitable. There's something in there that just won't leave me alone. Guess I'll have it checked. Another CT Scan in a few weeks and I'll know more.

I've had enough of them to know how it goes. Laying on my back, the IV in my arm hooked up to the clear vial of contrast. They'll ask if I'm ready, then I'll watch as the plunger presses it down and feel the hot flush race through my body to all my extremities... ALL of them. Like being bathed inside out in a warm bath.

And if I were hollow in there, like a chocolate Easter bunny, I suppose I'd fill up with contrast. Maybe I'd cave in when it drained out.

The adhesions or whatever they are, hurt when I sit a certain way. Sometimes they hurt when I think about the accident, the defining moment that changed me forever. I know one thing, I don't want to medicate the pain forever. So I'll always live with it if necessary. And pray God to make the best of what's left of me...or what's bettered of me. Defining moments are like that. They take and give, and sometimes not in proportion. I know I'm hollow where it used to be, the thing I was made with. Fortunately, for all of us, when our bodies heal, we can make the best...while being made the best of.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Peace. Peace to the Earth

There is peace on the earth. The iconic image that hangs in my room is called Peace, Peace to the Earth. Like some liturgical element that we've come to count on within the context of a Sunday morning. The Latin phrase that adorns the icon is something like: M N Y M N P Y. Which to my lizard like mind says "many men pee". It is the perfect thing really. The ridiculous, the sublime. Humans are binary that way. Both magnificent and desperate beings. We come from the earth, to the earth we return.

Maybe that's what really matters after all. The peace we return to the earth, we carried it all along. Sublime. Latin letters. Then there's the ridiculous, the eye catching a glint of gold overlay on the iconic art that says "men pee". We are both spiritual and physical. Both lizard and king.

Once I was reading the Nicene Creed in church, that favorite chunk of liturgy that can stand alone should the pastor show up without a sermon. Sometimes the Gospel reading or Psalms are the lynch pin of the service, but usually through some wise interpretation. The Creed, however, stands alone nicely. It is fully explained. There's no need for deep interpretation. You either believe it or you don't. Sublime. But there's this part, "He has spoken through the prophets..." Beautiful. Whether it was lack of sleep or a daydream, or something else, I don't know, I read it, and it came out of my lips, "He has spoken through the gophers..."

Needless to say, I couldn't finish the rest of the creed. Tears formed and my body lurched and gasped to try and hold back the laughter. Even now, years later, we get there and a smile forms on my face as I read it. Prophets...Gophers. The two words look kind of alike. And there it is again. We are, all of us, borne of both spirit and dirt. Both prophet and gopher. Maybe it wasn't the lack of sleep that revealed it, perhaps the Holy Spirit made me see it because there wasn't enough laughter in church that morning. Or maybe it's to remember that it's better to be a gopher considering the words of a prophet than the other way round.

In the end, it is peace to the earth that we can, at our best, hope to bring. Though it does not originate in our hearts, it can live there for a time. Until, that is, we're through with it. When we, at our best, return to the earth from which we came. And lay there at last the ridiculous. "Many men pee". "He has spoken through the gophers".

May some laughter in your liturgy of your life hold back the darkness, or even better, make it possible to deposit it once and for all where it some forest deep. Peace. Peace to the Earth.