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Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas, 2016


Perspectives


An earnest journey of hard-knock-life, the kind of life that is perceived as true mediocre—
Under-published, under-celebrated, unappreciated by the Big People—
Is a set of small connecting steps, shared sorrows and joys and the patting of dogs along the way.

This time-journey of earning a living and ageing is at least as grueling a journey as trekking the Himalayas, and just as precarious in its purpose and passion-wrenching sand storms.
Yet these earnest day by day lives seem so easily obliterated by shifting sands.
Each small footprint, converging with other small steps, filled in and covered over, as society prepares a pristine passageway fit for Protocol and Profit.

Perspectives can be chilling, odious things.

I see the displaced people held hostage to priced-out political persuasion, no matter the nation for which they stand;
I read the slanted memes and shoddy ‘post-truth’ news stories shattering reputations and carefully built lives;
I hear the silent majority praying for peace, a quiet road where deep passion and purpose can flourish in the humble connections of family and community.
And there they are: the quintessential travelers-three we walk beside in our world, our time.

Yet it is Advent, and we are called to Bethlehem, where incongruence and harmony live side by side:
Shepherds hunkered by the herd hearing angels; a virgin birthing; Christ choosing the hay and harmony of animals over a golden courtyard.

What about another three—those intrepid we-three-kings who take up a journey to reach for a star?

How do you see them?

As wise ones? Fools on a fool’s errand? Mediocre scholars with limited insight and biased peer review? Or simply an allegory of an impossible reach for Messiah?

Me? I close my eyes against the grit of sand, feel the chill night wind cut my face, my stiffening joints surrounding the warm girth of my steed. I smell the pungent odor of animal and earth crushed by hooves and resilient as love. I see thin light cutting through the inky night, forming a path discernible only to connected heart-mind-spirit.

The mediocre; the magnificent.


I see Gloria.

Perspectives

 A Deeper Magic


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lab and Diagnostics


Sitting on those thick stretched-vinyl chairs--
The ones that countless wipes of antiseptic can’t fade--
Holding numbered paper slips, we waited;
and felt a small echo of winning when our number projected overhead.
We won a new place of waiting:
A tiny cubicle with a thin curtain;
A place to shed clothes, don a gown and for some of us a pair of socks designed by Dr. Suess.
A place to flip that one magazine … and wait.
But, now no longer just a number,
In this inner sanctum of waiting we heard our name called.
And we met the machine;
The Wizard behind the curtain in this weird land of OZ.

There is no fooling that wizard;
No revisionist medical history, no stretching blood sugar scores and loose conversational supposes, ‘My doctor thought it looked fine …’
Merciless, penetrating vision.
But single vision none-the-less. For even the giants among the machine folk—the CT and MRI –see only the yes-no of physical stuff; a hard shadow frozen in time.
The winds of energy, hope, grief and joy stirring these molecules of matter are invisible to machine-eyes,
Yet we are aware of how they blow, settling in the soul of our center-heart.
Sometimes these winds whip with chaotic frenzy and scatter our bones into a rattling, painful frenzy.
Sometimes zephyrs of summer or a fragrant fall blow bones to dance in gratitude, appreciation for the gentle sunshine.
But this wizard, unlike the gentle soul in Oz with a bag of clock-hearts and honorary degrees,
Peers past meaning, past purpose, past soul into the grit of molecules;
A sand sculpture oblivious to the tide of energy surrounding it.
But we are more than the etching of our bones;
More than the lace of hydrogen formed in an ice-tide preserved in a digital file.
The scan of a larynx never shows the singing voice darting like a hummingbird to the nectar of the joyful soul.
The real wizard behind the curtain is the person dressed in scrubs who sees past the cornea of the patient in the gown;
Who connects, soul-to-soul, stirring winds of humanity, laughter, compassion;
Who sees in the dark shadows of an ultrasound, not a menopausal uterus, but the sacred space of Creation.
This is the deeper magic in the room of the machine.
Our heart recognizes and rejoices,
And our minds, dressed in thanksgiving, embrace the kindness of strangers.


Lab and Diagnostics


Sitting on those thick stretched-vinyl chairs--
The ones that countless wipes of antiseptic can’t fade--
Holding numbered paper slips, we waited;
and felt a small echo of winning when our number projected overhead.
We won a new place of waiting:
A tiny cubicle with a thin curtain;
A place to shed clothes, don a gown and for some of us a pair of socks designed by Dr. Suess.
A place to flip that one magazine … and wait.
But, now no longer just a number,
In this inner sanctum of waiting we heard our name called.
And we met the machine;
The Wizard behind the curtain in this weird land of OZ.

There is no fooling that wizard;
No revisionist medical history, no stretching blood sugar scores and loose conversational supposes, ‘My doctor thought it looked fine …’
Merciless, penetrating vision.
But single vision none-the-less. For even the giants among the machine folk—the CT and MRI –see only the yes-no of physical stuff; a hard shadow frozen in time.
The winds of energy, hope, grief and joy stirring these molecules of matter are invisible to machine-eyes,
Yet we are aware of how they blow, settling in the soul of our center-heart.
Sometimes these winds whip with chaotic frenzy and scatter our bones into a rattling, painful frenzy.
Sometimes zephyrs of summer or a fragrant fall blow bones to dance in gratitude, appreciation for the gentle sunshine.
But this wizard, unlike the gentle soul in Oz with a bag of clock-hearts and honorary degrees,
Peers past meaning, past purpose, past soul into the grit of molecules;
A sand sculpture oblivious to the tide of energy surrounding it.
But we are more than the etching of our bones;
More than the lace of hydrogen formed in an ice-tide preserved in a digital file.
The scan of a larynx never shows the singing voice darting like a hummingbird to the nectar of the joyful soul.
The real wizard behind the curtain is the person dressed in scrubs who sees past the cornea of the patient in the gown;
Who connects, soul-to-soul, stirring winds of humanity, laughter, compassion;
Who sees in the dark shadows of an ultrasound, not a menopausal uterus, but the sacred space of Creation.
This is the deeper magic in the room of the machine.
Our heart recognizes and rejoices,
And our minds, dressed in thanksgiving, embrace the kindness of strangers.


Friday, September 30, 2016



Maze


“I don’t know where I am,” she said.

I turn and see an iron-haired warrior of 70+ years speaking to a white coat.
White coat pauses, begins to open his mouth.
Before he speaks, I hear the hum in his head like a call bell in the brain: Disorientation!
In my mind I see thought bubbles like cartoons above his head:
Dementia … Delirium,
And, opening like clapboards under these:
Polypharmacy, infection, Na+ imbalance …

A young mom, bewildered toddler in tow and one in her arms, enters the hallway,
Blinks behind the hair in her eyes, nods and points with her chin—“That way
That way is reception. It’s a maze, isn’t it?” and continues on her way.
“Thank you,” says the warrior. “What a lovely family you have.”
White coat closes his mouth and points toward reception,
Word bubbles popping around him.

I have been there—both the white coat clinician and the older adult in the double gown.
From two sides of a precipice they stand.
Worlds apart? Words apart?
For now I see that the ravine is much smaller than it seemed to be.

The hospital without and within (the mind) is a maze—
Full of twists and turns, sharp corners and sudden ends.
There are no stars, no Sun, no Northern range of mountains to orient the traveler.
And labels are oh-so-useful in their place,
But signposts and compadres on the journey?

They bring you home.