Saturday, January 10, 2009

Born Toward Dying

Richard John Neuhaus 1936 - 2009 RIP

We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word "good" should in any way be associated with death. Death, it is thought, is an unmitigated evil, the very antithesis of all that is good. Death is to be warded off by exercise, by healthy habits, by medical advances. What cannot be halted can be delayed, and what cannot forever be delayed can be denied. But all our progress and all our protest notwithstanding, the mortality rate holds steady at 100 percent.

Born Toward the whole thing

Richard John Neuhaus

National Catholic Reporter

The death of Father Richard John Neuhaus on Jan 8 was experienced here as if a family member had passed away. Such was Father Neuhaus's importance and impact on my own spiritual growth and development. Indeed, a family member did pass on Christmas Eve as there were also a few other deaths and near deaths this Christmas season for our family. My late father's only surviving brother died Dec 24 at the age of 84. His widow's brother then died of cancer the same week. My mother also was rushed to emergency and hospitalized just days before Christmas after collapsing in public. She was treated, placed on intravenous and stabilized to the point that she was able to return home with medication but she's 77 and suffers from other ailments so we were concerned but relieved that she’s alright for now. News was also delivered over Christmas that on old friend from the 1970's Island we once knew in the springtime of our lives had recently died from bone cancer. Her name was "Blue" [see previous post].

On top of all this living and dying in three quarter time came the news that my favorite uncle was scheduled to have his left leg amputated due to critical loss of circulation in the deteriorated limb. The major operation was necessary and according to doctors needed to be done right away but hospital staffing problems postponed surgery almost a week while he suffered in agony and uncertainty regarding his fate. It's all over now, surgery was successful and he's recovering, but a very dramatic time for my uncle John and his loving family. He's 79. Christmas itself was blessed, spirit filled, peaceful and serene this year.

As for me...

You may not like my appearance

May not like my song

May not like the way I talk

But you like the way I'm gone

I'm a Freeborn Man

My home is on my back

I drove every inch of highway

Every bit of backroad

Every mile of railroad track

Git it guys...Freeborn Man...
Tony Rice, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas & Bela Fleck

Here's an intelligent take on quite another Tony that's mighty well worth considering... Father Barron reflects on The Sopranos

Meanwhile life goes on outside all around you…

Alright...two more for the road...let's kick it with "Frankie Belle"
Rhonda Vincent & The Rage w/guest fiddler Molly Cherryholmes
Josh Williams [acoustic guitar] can this guy play...

And as a special dedication for the souls of our dearly departed...
Norman Blake will play us out with his brilliantly nimble, "Salty"

Lastly, from the songwriting pen of a son of a son of a sailor...

And it's dance with me, dance with me

Nautical Wheelers

Take me to stars that you know

Come on and dance with me

Nautical Wheelers

I want so badly to go

Well the sunrise'll bring on

The sleep that's escaped us

And everyone's off to their bed

There'll be huggin' and squeezin'

A little pleasin' and teasin'

And rubbin' of each others' head

So won't you dream on comrades

Seems nothing affects you

Nothing, no reason nor rhyme

Cause everyone here is just more than contented

To be living and dying in three quarter time. -
Jimmy Buffet


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