“Dying’s easy for men like you and me; it’s living that’s hard”

This has been a rough few days.  Between constant headaches and shaking I have spent the majority of my days horizontal.  I was to pick up a new prescription and a refill on Tuesday, but I was shaking so bad that I feared driving to the clinic.  I did get them yesterday, makes a total of 14 different medications and supplements.

I am beginning to wonder if the shaking is not causing some of the headaches.  Some days it is so bad, that my head bobbles like it is on a spring, that can’t be good for the grey matter.

Yesterday I took my son a new charger for his cell phone.  Actually not new, just a spare I had.  His first comment to me when I walked in was that I “looked like crap.”  I guess when you see yourself daily in the mirror you don’t realize how much appearance has changed until someone who knows you and hasn’t seen you in a while comments on your look.  Thanks kid!

I took a long look in the mirror yesterday, and a glance at a picture of myself from just a few years ago, and I do look like crap.  I guess that is the result of not being able to sleep through a night, even with being medicated and sedated and just the general fatigue of all that has gone on.

I laid in bed the other day, and the line, “To sleep, perchance to dream,” popped into my head.  At first I thought it would be fantastic, to sleep and dream without being in pain, shaking or feeling at the mercies of others.  Then I recalled that the line was from that Danish Prince, Hamlet, and he wasn’t talking of “sleep” but rather death.  The full line goes, “To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.”  Dying is not something I fear, nor is it something that I wish to hurry.  To be “shuffled off this mortal coil” any earlier than the time that is allotted me in the Book of Life is not a desire.

It is so ironic that we struggle and fight for the things that we think are important:  career, nice house, new car, good retirement plan, and yet when we come face to face with a serious illness we start to gain new perspective of life and what is of importance.  For me it is the desire to feel a part of something bigger and more important than myself; to have those that I have hurt or wronged through the years truly forgive me; to forgive myself of my foolishness and stupidity.  I have known many people who have gone before God and asked Him to forgive their sins and mistakes and yet they still carry with them, like a millstone around their necks, their burdens and mistakes.  How terrible it must be for someone to ask and receive forgiveness and yet still not release themselves from that which is forgiven.

I know I have made my share of errors, deliberate and unintended, and I have sought forgiveness from the Divine.  And I know that I have been granted that Divine absolution and my sins are thrown into the sea of forgetfulness.  I also know that, like David, I will continue to screw up and do things not in keeping with what I am supposed to or should do.  But I have the confidence of God’s promise that I am one of His children, and that even though I rage like, as Campbell wrote, “A tempest in a teapot” I know that my place in God’s house is secure.

I am learning that, while there are things well beyond my control, there are those things that only I control.  My anger, who I let frustrate me, my procrastination or impetuousness, my desire to always be “right” in an argument, or have the last word.  I am learning, albeit slowly, that, while I am not perfect, neither are others.  I’m also learning that to be forgiven, I must forgive.  To let go of my faults, I must let go of others faults.  To grow and achieve that which God wants me to achieve, I have to be willing to help others grow and achieve.

Sometimes that hardest part of living is being willing to let those we love, cherish and care for make their own mistakes.  I watch so many try to protect family, friends, and loved ones from themselves, only to end up in a heap of exhaustion, fear and resentment.  I can’t change what someone is or has done.  If they are one of my loved ones, all I can do is provide some form of net to break the fall when they ultimately do.

To quote Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales, “Dying’s easy for men like you and me; it’s living that’s hard.”

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About Joseph Ordower

I'm a middle aged, some would say curmudgeon, who is sick, tired and truly frustrated with the way things are going in a country (America) that he loves, honors and respects.
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