Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Monday, June 07, 2004

Avoiding the rush  

I hadn't planned on posting anything on Reagan because, well ... I have nothing to add. If anything, I was happy for him - and for Nancy - that the long goodbye was over. And he wasn't formative for me; my early worldview was set by Kennedy/Nixon, and it didn't really shift noticeably until after he was out of the picture he helped redraw. But this comment from Mitch at Blogfonte struck me:
Nothing in this world makes me doubt the hereafter more than Alzheimers, the way that the disease takes its victims a fragment at a time, flaying the intellect and the mind, peeling the man like an onion, until nothing is left but tears. Where is a soul, in that ugly dissolution?
Because I believe in the hereafter - with no claims at all to know what things might be like - I have a different reaction. (And partly because I don't confuse the personality and the soul.)

It seems to me that Alzheimer's - or any long-term, debilitating illness where things are taken from you, one by one or in great chunks - is a way of experiencing purgatory in this life. What is it the Buddhists say: if you die a little each day, when it really happens, it won't be such a shock to your system; things will go easier. I think - I hope - it can work the same with the cleansing.

There's disagreement about how it works, that we become ready (or able) to experience the direct unmediated presence of the All Holy. Does it happen all at once, in an instant of immersion in consuming light and fire, of perfect love and understanding that dissolves our illusions like acid? Or more gradually, one sin, one vice, one brokenness, one well-meant decision at a time? Is that even a meaningful distinction, for something that takes place in eternity?

I know the purgation will come to each of us, in fire or in ice, in loving acceptance or in squirming fear and defiance, in this life or in the world to come. Maybe, the little losses in life, of memories and talents, of abilities and powers, can prepare us for the day when everything extraneous is stripped away and we stand naked in His Presence.

posted by Kelly | 9:15 PM link
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