Saturday, October 17, 2015

№ 222. Two Funerals and A Film About Black Death

We visited two funerals this week and to cap it off, I finally finished watching the The Seventh Seal.

Bart would say, "¡Ay, caramba!". I would say, "Tick tock".

First Funeral (Sunday, October 11). A close friend since kindergarten days (almost 40 years of friendship), a cardiologist, had to go through the last three or so months of his mother. His mom was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer last July. The cancer has metastasized to the lungs. It was again an issue between curative or palliative. In the end, doctor friends advised palliative care.

I was called to the hospital last Sunday to advise on end of life issues. She passed away three days later, survived by her husband, two daughters, two sons and a number of grandchildren.

Second Funeral (Wednesday, October 14). An officer at work confided that her father, a chronic diabetic, was undergoing renal dialysis. That was May, five months ago. He passed away last Monday, four days before his 75th birthday.

Our laminated lives seem both too brief and yet too lengthy. How is meaning and measure appreciated? Is it achieved, gained or obtained? Does one decide whether to view life through the lens of kairos or chronos, or both, depending on the need?
How do you measure, measure years in a life?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife

Here's some mental heavy lifting from The Seventh Seal:

Antonius Block: Is it so hard to conceive God with one's senses? Why must He hide in a midst of vague promises and invisible miracles? How are we to believe the believers when we don't believe ourselves? What will become of us who want to believe but cannot? And what of those who neither will nor can believe? Why can I not kill God within me? Why does He go on living in a painful, humiliating way? I want to tear Him out of my heart, but He remains a mocking reality which I cannot get rid of. Do you hear me?

Priest/Death: I hear you.

[Block turns to kneel before the priest behind the confessional screen.]

Block: I want knowledge. Not belief. Not surmise. But knowledge. I want God to put out His hand, show His face, speak to me.

Priest/Death: But He is silent.

Block: I cry to Him in the dark, but there seems to be no one there.

Priest/Death: Perhaps there is no one there.

Block: Then life is a senseless terror. No man can live with Death and know that everything is nothing.

Priest/Death: Most people think neither of Death nor nothingness.

Block: Until they stand on the edge of life and see the Darkness.

Priest/Death: Ah, that day.

Block: [laughs bitterly] I see. We must make an idol of our fear, and call it God.

Priest/Death: You are uneasy.

Block: Death visited me this morning. We are playing chess. This respite enables me to perform a vital errand.

Priest/Death: What errand?Block: My whole life has been a meaningless search. I say it without bitterness or self-reproach. I know it is the same for all. But I want to use my respite for one significant action.

Priest/Death: So you play chess with Death?

Block: He is a skillful tactician, [smiling] but I have not yet lost one piece.

Priest/Death: How can you outwit Death?

Block: [smiling] By a combination of bishop and knight. I will break his flank.

[The "priest" turns to face Block through the screen.]

Priest/Death: I shall remember that.

[Block stands up, startled.]

Block: Traitor! You have tricked me! But I'll find a way out.

Bento Box:

1. Final Episode of Six Feet Under from Youtube
2. Facts and circumstances were changed to protect privacy.

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