Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Steppenwolf Syndrome Strikes Again

Dear John,
It's a shame that you don't have television there. Last night USA showed the NCIS episode from last winter that I so wanted you to see - the one that told what would have happened if Shannon and Kelly's murderer had lived. There's one part of it where Gibbs is at a diner as his life passes before him - everybody shows up: Franks, Gibbs' mother, Jenny, everybody. At one point he's sitting in a booth talking to Shannon and Kelly, and they tell him that they're both waiting for him. It made me tear up a little, but it was very reassuring. It is good to know that you're waiting for me. And I think I have family also waiting for me, including the ones that I never got to meet. I imagine my parents, grandparents, siblings, Mary, and Miriam leaning over the parapet looking down and watching for me.
I've reached that point in life where more of the people I love are there with you than are here with me. I don't talk much about how ready I am to go. People misunderstand, get alarmed, wonder if I'm a suicide risk, tell me how much I have to live for, and so on. But that's not the point. I suppose you can't get the point until you find yourself at that point. There are people here that I love very much, things that I enjoy, ways that I am useful, and I'm content. But I'm also ready to go. It's sort of like being on vacation - you have a good time, but the day comes when you're just ready to go home, when you miss your friends and you want to be back where you belong.
I think this started before we knew you were sick - it seems to have been a result of the accident I had last summer. I certainly don't remember any experiences connected with it. After all, I don't remember anything  connected with it. All I know is that me, as I first was afterward, understood life and death very differently than I had a few days before. I finally understood - with all of me, not just my head - that this life is all about the next one, that the joy and beauty of this life is a faint shadow of the joy and beauty of Heaven, and that, while this one is good in its own way, it isn't anything to focus on. Your death just underlined all of that; it was written on my heart months earlier.
And so it's the Steppenwolf syndrome again. (I'm so glad you read the book, too - otherwise this term would never have become part of the household vocabulary.) I've had a world view shift that puts me at variance with - oh, only everybody I know. I'm having a thought here: Maybe that's why I've spent the last year or so listening to only Delta Blues and reading only the Athonite Gerontikon. I've found a shared world view there, and so far nowhere else. There are a few people that I've talked to that aren't actually chasing me around with a butterfly net, and that's good. But nobody is saying, "Yes! Me, too!"
So what do I do with this? That's clearly too big a topic for 9:30 Saturday night. I won't be able to sing tomorrow - still no voice at all - but I do have to be able to stay awake. So I need to get some sleep. Pray for me while I try to sort it all out and put it into acceptable English. And ask the Fathers and all those folks at the parapet to keep praying for me, too. Tell them how very much I love all of them. And if you see a tall, thin, older gentleman hanging around whistling a waltz, don't be concerned. He's a patient I took care of many years ago just before he died. We talked about how much we loved to dance, and I asked him to save the first dance in Heaven for me. He promised he would. I have so much to look forward to!
May your joy be full!

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