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Thoughts After the Purge

Spiritual Smart Aleck

Nothing like a couple of days of food poisoning to purge your body and clear your mind. Not that I recommend or condone it.

The first and worst day I went through wondering if I was going to die, old and weak as I am, with so many regrets, so many things undone. After a while I wasn’t sure if dying wouldn’t be so bad. Hey, you’ve been there.

Time was meaningless. Saturday was a series of delirium dreams in between trips down the hall. I slept off and on all day Sunday and most of Monday. Okay, some things cannot be denied: I got up long enough on Sunday night to watch the Masterpiece Theater programs. Watching Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell makes me forget everything else.

By Tuesday morning I had regained the will to live. When I woke up I did an inventory of my body and realized that nothing hurt. This is so rare and wonderful that I lay there for a while savoring the sensation. Perhaps you’ve been there, too.

As I got up and walked around in my empty condition I realized I felt ready to purge the house, too. My sons would like it very much if I shoveled everything in my house into garbage bags and sent them to the dump. As I stood there feeling wan, I looked at the piles and I felt a strong urge to do that very thing.

It is unfortunate that I have a hard time letting go of things.

The pictures are my biggest obstacle. And slides. We must not forget the slides. I inherited them all, from both sides of my family and from both sides of Rick’s family, him being an only child. They add up. The pictures are in boxes, and the boxes are in stacks, and the stacks lean against each other in piles.

I wrote to my friends John and Julie Blakemore about my house situation and my desire to clean it out, and they replied that their kids have “firmly requested bordering on demand that we strip the place down to a level of physical simplicity that a senior Zen monk would find comfortable to live with.”

Yeah. Our children see it coming. When we, as John euphemistically puts it, “fall off the perch,” they will have the monumental task of cleaning out our houses. Poor babies.

Beloved, cherished children: I sincerely hope and pray there comes a time and is a world where cleaning out our houses is your biggest and worst problem.

So. I’m still a little green around the gills, as my mother would say. Looking at the piles and promising myself to continue sorting and tossing. It is slow and tender work. Who are these people my aunt took a picture of in the 1930s?
While I was ill I had a little time apart from this crazy world. Every time I turn on the radio and listen to the news, what I hear hurts my feelings, breaks my heart, upsets my stomach, and pisses me off. Maybe it wasn’t food poisoning that made me throw up, but an overload of cognitive dissonance and a steady diet of deadly nonsense.

My friend Julie reminds me that every time I feel like I’m going to blow a gasket, to remember that there are millions of people around the world also trying not to blow a gasket. Is that comforting? It was, a little, to me.

I make some tea and toast, and continue to recover. The hyacinths and forget-me-nots are blooming, as are the dandelions, which I don’t bother because I hear they are good for the bees. The sun is out today, and the leaves have popped on the trees that looked barren last week. Life goes on, ignoring human folly.

There is so much human folly.

Okay, that’s it for me this time. Please close the door on your way out, so the dog doesn’t get loose. Thanks.