Morning coffee

12/11/09 Coffee and…

According to B. who is reading the newspaper account, the van driver’s view of rte 12 was probably obscured by the eighteen wheeler turning across the street, that’s not quite clear, but at any rate the utility truck struck the van’s front quarter panel as it entered the roadway killing the 74 y.o. driver.  Whether he died slowly or quickly is unknown at present.  He will be remembered at least by his 40 y.o. son who spends his days in the adult day care program of the local home health care organization.  His various dystrophies and contractures from his neurological condition make speech and mobility extremely difficult and it appears that he does not have much longer to live.  It is said that his wife an elementary school teacher who works locally, which in these times of high unemployment, must be seen as a blessing, cares for him in an exemplary manner.  He is always delivered clean, neat and well dressed.  

Was the dead father still working to help provide support for the son?  Will the wife be more alone in her care for the sick man?  How will the man manage his loss and grief over his father’s sudden death even as he experiences the continuing physical losses from the encroaching destruction of his central nervous system?  There is no speculation about these things in the newspaper.

Also in the newspaper are some letters to Santa from young children hoping for Christmas gifts.  I reproduce only two of them, they are quite brief: “Dear Santa, I am 7 years old and this year for Christmas I would like a hunting knife just like my Dad’s.  I’d also like a big set of Lego’s, a red bouncy ball, a big Transformer, and new Bakugans. (Who knows that’s what it said in the paper.)  I’ll leave you some cookies and milk.  I’ll also leave carrots for your reindeer. Thank you, love Andrew. “ and “Dear Santa: I am 7 y.o.  I have been a help w my baby sister.  This year I would like a show halter for my calf, a Nintendo DS, a calendar, a beading book, and a John Deere blanket that is pink and soft. I will leave out milk and cookies along with some carrots. Haylee.”

The coffee is excellent this morning.  It is as usual, fresh ground Starbuck’s French Roast.  I believe I have finally got the preparation process perfect after all this time.  Yesterday we replaced the furnace.  The noise it makes seems slightly different than the old furnace and it’s difficult to decide whether it’s louder than the old one or not.  We’ll reserve judgment until after we get a little more adapted to this one.  B. and I were toting up the home improvements of 2009 and it comes to about $25k. Maintaining our physical plant in this environment is challenging, and as B. said we go away quite often and it needs to be as well maintained as we can have it. Beethoven’s “Consecration of the House” overture is playing on our favorite classical music station.

I was summarizing, again, yesterday, William James view of the religion of “health mindedness.”  He describes this approach as one that systematically, through meditation and relaxation training, attempts to ignore evil and encourages its participants to stay in the present moment, keep a positive attitude and use the “Law of Attraction” to bring positive things into their lives.  James, who sees this as a constitutional predisposition for some, concludes the chapter by noting that this approach to religious experience is essentially shallow because no matter how successful and how present oriented the participant is, the reality of sickness and death creep into one’s life like a cold chill in the middle of winter.  The solution to the conundrum presented by life’s experience may be temporarily solved by living in the present fully and richly, but then from out of left field comes that event, or in this case even the report of an event, which is a symbol of the dilemma we all face.  In the absence of something MORE, to use James’ label, how can any of this be understood?    
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