Being Human

Thank you for your patience while my apathy towards school turned into apathy on life. One reason I could tell it was apathy and not depression was that my bad attitude was focused on specific events (i.e. upcoming tests and the end of the semester) rather than anxiety over everything in life or general sadness at transition. I guess since I know that transition is coming and I can prioritize what needs to happen, I’m not feeling mowed over by life.

[Rather than “Geek Boss” as code for my employer, I have now decided upon “The Brain.” Other than his electrical engineering background, he has been consistently messing around with computer gadgets and programs. I tease him that he’s like “Brain” from Pinky and the Brain. NARF!]

I will say that one of my joy-killers the past few weeks has been at work with the Brain. He contracted a lung infection, which caused the whole house a lot of stress the past few weeks. We think what happened is that he pinched a nerve in his spine. Because of the pinched nerve, it hurt to breathe deeply (aided by one of his assistance machines). With no deep breathing, a particle of some sort got into his right lung and the infection began.

I’m tempted to write the facts his symptoms followed by his slow recovery, however, that is not to be tonight.

Even with a good response to antibiotics and fever-reducing meds, the elephant in the corner is growing. Each day and week, there is a new event or symptom that seems to be pointing the way to more degeneration of nerves and muscles. Some people say that he won’t get really bad or die before I leave for school is August. Yet, I still see the eyes of my boss’s wife and the various hospice employees. No one can know for certain, but it’s closer every day.

When I’m finally silent and still enough to unwrap the weeks and days with The Brain and his illness, my frustrations are usually rooted in sadness and fear. I’ve never been on the long journey with someone to the end of their life. Yet, I allowed myself these emotions. Early in my employment, I was encouraged to open my heart and mind, to not be guarded.

It is also Eastern Orthodox Easter (more commonly called “Pascha”). Thus anticipating the Risen Christ while seeing someone approaching their death is a bit jarring. Yet, if Holy Week is a time to prepare the soul, what better reminder of my own fallen state and humanity than being with someone who is preparing theirs. It’s such an odd, but needed, juxtaposition of circumstances.

Earlier this week, I was sharing the above with my friend Tamara, whose mother died a few years ago from pancreatic cancer. I made the wise decision to ask Tamara about this season of resurrection when you are with someone whose death isn’t eminent but likely closer than your own.

“You can’t put words on it and understand, but your soul does.”

Later on in the conversation, we were saying more about our society and its view of birth and death now that those events seem to be relegated to a hospital. Again, Tamara was blessed with the words that night:

“Taking care of people in those times isn’t fun or pretty, but it makes you more human.”

Thank you to those who are walking by me as I become more human and more aware of my soul, which I hope in turn allows me to help others be more human and soulful. It’s a growth that is uncomfortable and uncertain. I continue to wonder, then, is my fear not of death but rather entering into the life I am created to live?

Yet, this is why my hope is in Christ. He didn’t come just to save us from death, but that we may have life to the full.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jenrzimmerman
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 17:50:15

    This is a very good post. Thanks. 🙂



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