My personal, internal drama regarding Barry is ending.
I have asked him if there is anywhere he wants to go, anything he wants to do, or anyone he wants to see while he has time. He said he wants to see his grandsons Austyn and Drew. Anyone else? Their father, Jeff. I am unsure of my ability to make it happen, given that they live in Algonac, almost in Canada. But all I can do is reach out.
My New-Age-y friend that moved backed to CA always used to ask, “Are you complete?” after people talked. That struck me as odd. Now it feels right. We are going to keep talking until we feel we have said everything we need to say. We will keep coming back over and over until there is some satisfaction, understanding, or whatever.
I feel like, when he dies, I won’t have a lot of regrets. I believe that he is going to keep going slowly downhill, until the aspiration gets seriously infected and then he will last a few weeks and that will be it. I think he can go downhill for maybe another year, if he is lucky and keeps holding on, which would be ugly in terms of his appearance and suffering level, but that is his choice.
My choices are over. I can only try to get his grandsons to come to Lansing once or twice more. None of this is up to me. And I am satisfied with my efforts to make him comfortable. And that’s all there is.
I am annoying myself. My brain is in two places at once.
Barry acts like everything is fine. Part of me does not truly believe I will be working. I have seen absolutely nothing whatsoever change for years. So I feel like I need to prepare for a continuation of the status quo: Barry at home,watching TV and his health slowly declining. No movement.
And then there is the other side of me. I went to Peckham Thursday. I am completely confident they can find something employment-wise for me in the next few weeks. I see a few trees where the leaves are turning already. I am seeing more lumps on Barry’s neck. He has a neurologist appointment in October and a dentist appointment in November. I have a hard time imagining that neither of them is going to notice what’s going on. Things could change quickly.
When it comes to working, part of me is like, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” I even thought about becoming a tutor at my old high school, but I don’t want to screw things up with a place as goal-oriented as Peckham.
Still dealing with the insurance company. I am sure they owe me a boatload of money by now, but I have been too much of a coward to look at all of this and confront them.
Part of me sees signs of change another part of me just thinks the first part is delusional. What will break the tie? It will be interesting to observe what happens.
I found an amazing book: The Little Book of Hercules: The Physical Aspects of the Spiritual Path by William Bodri. It brings together every spiritual issue and fascination and observation I have had.
I have always had a fascination with stillness, silence, simplicity, etc. Part of my interest in the Eastern Orthodox church has been its path of attainment of Purification, Illumination, and Theosis (Catharsis, Theoria, and Theosis). This book addresses how similar this path is to Buddhist, Hindu, and other paths.
This book also addresses the kundalini experience I have been having and how it relates to all these spiritual processes. Fascinating. It goes into a lot of detail as to how it works.
It does all this through the Greek mythology of Hercules’s twelve labors. The labors are common to all faiths. The labors are all about letting go.
What struck me quickly was on page 21. “[Y]ou have to learn how to mentally let go while still doing everything that has to be done.” This is why in many eastern cultures (including some Eastern Orthodox countries), it is not unusual for men and women to join monasteries or go off into caves and mountains for spiritual practice, after the kids are grown and the middle-aged adults are done with the householder phase of life.
This is also in agreement with my observation that Catholic and Orthodox monks and nuns that join the monastery/convent in their twenties are basically children play-acting in adult clothing. They are lovely, sweet, generous children, not grown-ups, because they have never had to sacrifice anything ever. Their lives of silence and stillness come at the expense of maturity and real-world competence.
Also, the people demanding obedience are usually the least spiritual in the entire community, managers and not spiritual leaders. They are the blind leading the blind. Being a pastor and having a family put an effective end to spiritual practice. Marrying people, burying people, going to endless meetings, hospital visitations, etc., do not leave much time for prayer and meditation. Also, the spiritual greats of all faiths (Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Hindu gurus, Zen masters, Desert Fathers and Mothers, etc.) have to be sought out. They will not demand your obedience because they don’t need the ego satisfaction. You have to hunt them down like dogs to get a word from them.
I can never seriously practice while Barry is still alive. On the other hand, I can meditate when I can. When he passes, I plan on going on retreat for a week or two. I need some alone time, desperately.
I go to Peckham on Thursday to see what they have to offer. I need to bring my driver’s license and SS card. I might have to juggle the caretaker schedule. I don’t know how any of this is going to work. Functioning for two is exhausting.
It just amazes me how I still “have issues” while pursuing spirituality and employment. I am pushing fifty and still have shame, shyness, etc. Wow. I guess that’s just my karma.
I’ll just keep inching forward spiritually and occupationally like a snail.
The other day, I was copying and pasting parts of my resume online, feeling all ashamed of not having worked (or even contacted my references) in years. Shame is my primary impediment to growth sometimes. It’s that fundamental feeling of “WTF is wrong with me that I can’t do something so simple?” I am so Asperger-y sometimes that social niceties escape me altogether. Not helping. One problem I have is that it just feels sooooo good to be alone that it doesn’t occur to me how unsocial I really am sometimes.
Meanwhile, the TV was on, like it always is. Barry had it on CBS This Morning. Someone was talking about the labor market. It turns out that the economy is improving and there are more jobs. I credit Obama for the momentum of the recovery that Trump is taking credit for. Companies are having a rough time finding reliable workers, given the opioid epidemic. The new qualification for employment is to NOT be addicted to opioids.
I suddenly felt like a real catch! I am college educated and not hooked on anything other than caffeine. My crack house is Biggby, an East-Lansing-based chain of coffee shops in MI, OH, and some random other states. When lost in Maumee, OH, attempting to get onto the turnpike, (on the way to WV last year) I had never been so happy as to find a Biggby. I whipped out my Biggby card, got a mocha, and got directions. I rock! Compared to people hooked on fentanyl or heroin, I shine like the sun. And there I was, feeling routinely ashamed.
It really is all relative.