East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Lent- Day 36: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

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My palms from Sunday, twisted into a cross. Please note, I have no idea how to do this and just kept bending until I got this.

 

On Sunday at church, we read from Matthew 27. Verse 46 always breaks my heart:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

 

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Lent- Day 27: For rich or poor.


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(Image source: YouTube)

 

My home infusion nurse Charlie was over on Wednesday, administering IVIG. While the Gamunex dripped into my vein through my accessed PowerPort, he spoke about visiting a very rich patient upstate some years ago. She lived in a mansion that was staffed with white-gloved maids, personal chef, and a driver to chauffeur her to shopping trips in Manhattan and back. He set up her infusion while she reclined in a giant bed, swathed in high count sheets. After finishing, he was escorted to the front entry by a stern faced Black maid wearing a highly starched black uniform. It was undoubtedly the most expensive place he had ever stepped foot.

Immediately after, he drove to the markedly-not-so-tony city of Patterson. His next patient lived in a dank, dark basement apartment only accessible around the back of a multi-family home. The stairs leading down were steep and creaky, and the cold air from outside came through old wooden windows. The furniture was stained and worn. The patient remained bundled up in layers to try to maintain bodily warmth. After finishing that infusion, Charlie remembers driving home in astonishment at having patients back-to-back with such contrasting socio-economic states of living. 

"And you know, both of those patients ended up passing away. One was worth millions, the other very little, and in the end, they wound up the same way, in the grave," Charlie said with a faraway look in his blue eyes.

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Lent- Day 22:Do you really want to live forever? Forever, and ever...

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(Image Source: KJ Design)

 

 

I had a convo with a friend earlier this week about life and death. At some point, I asked, "Why on Earth would anyone want to live forever?" She responded by talking about accomplishing life goals, building relationships and making memories. "Oh no, I'm not saying 'Why not just die and get it over with'", I paused and continued, "I mean, I think most people desire a long, healthy life. But to never die? Never? While the people you love most do die? The world you know fades away? Like, live just to not die?"

I thought of my grandmother who has buried her mom, husband, siblings, three of her kids, and a grandchild. To be clear, Grandma doesn't have a deathwish, and is quite active at 86. But she doesn't dread death, either. In speaking with my friend I realized, neither do I.

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Lent- Day 20: Hope deferred.

DEPRESSION

(Image Source)

 

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." -Proverbs 13:12

 

I've been reading a spate of articles for over a year now about the sudden increase in the rate of morbidity amongst middle- aged White Americans, and Vox published yet another earlier today:

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Lent- Day 17: To rendezvous with Death.

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(Image Source)

 

I was listening to the John F. Kennedy episode of The Washington Post's Presidential Podcast while chopping mushrooms to go with some leftover pasta for dinner a few hours ago, and the host, Lillian Cunningham, read excerpt from one of JFK's favorite poems. Like so much of his life, this poem is centered on death. From the Poetry Foundation:

I Have a Rendezvous with Death 
BY ALAN SEEGER

 

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Lent- Day 16: Heaven is a place on Earth.

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Kelly, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, and Yorkie, played by Mackenzie Davis, in "San Junipero", episode 4, season 3 of "Black Mirror".( Image Source: Nerdist)

 

I cried when I watched the "San Junipero" episode of Netflix's "Black Mirror". Whenever someone tells me they're going to watch the series, I tell them to look out for it in the midst of their streaming binge. I can't quite articulate what gets to me so much about it, and I don't want to ramble on trying to here. So if I'd have to make a quick statement, it's the treatment of death and the afterlife... and the deepest hopes we have for it. I cry similarly at parts of "Inception", watching Marion Cotillard's Mal become so engrossed with the dream world- a place of love, happiness and no pain- that she never wants to live in the real. 

 

But the premise of "San Junipero" is very much unlike "Inception", and without going into too many of the details of the plot, I'll just highlight what relates to this post. SPOILERS AHEAD.

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Lent- Day 8: Ready to Die.


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Christopher Wallace, A.K.A., Biggie Smalls (Image Source)

 

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of rapper Biggie Smalls, the Notorious B.I.G. It's bizarre to me that it's been two decades already. Perhaps even more jarring is the fact I've outlived him by over a decade since he was only 24 when killed. His murder remains unsolved, and continues to generate controversy. From Complex:

 

The identity of the person who murdered Notorious B.I.G. is one of hip-hop’s greatest unsolved mysteries. Christopher Wallace was gunned down in a Los Angeles drive-by March 9, 1997 while sitting in a Chevy Suburban. He had performed earlier that night at the Soul Train Awards.

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Forever 28. Three years old.

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Friday marked the third anniversary of my sister Joscelyne's death.

 

Around 8AM, I pulled the black and white photo of her, ensconced in a shiny, mirrored frame, off the bookshelf, and placed it in the center of the piano. I set out a couple of candles, and searched through a closet for the least tacky plastic flowers I could find. I wanted fresh lilies, but due to a sprained ankle I've been nursing for three weeks, that didn't happen.

 

I found some pink and purple ones, part of a bouquet that she had purchased in 2011 for our mom that wound up in my possession. They surrounded the candles, which I lit and watched flicker. Their light could barely be seen because it was bright in the living room. November 20th of 2015 was sunny, unlike the gloomy and overcast 20th of 2012.

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Lent- Day 25: Sorry Ms. Jackson.

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I was visited again today by Friend 2 from last week. Repeatedly throughout her visit, the conversation veered into some of the more difficult areas of life- illness, breakups and death. I kept responding to her frustrated statements with, "But I can't control that" and "I cannot make people do what they do not want to do".  She would agree, only to turn right around and then go into complaints. Exasperated (and my voice going screechily high pitched), I finally declared, "Don't you get it? We aren't really in control of many things in life!"

 

I said control so many times I started to hear the Janet Jackson classic in my head.

 

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Lent- Day 5: My tears have been my food.

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"My dad is dying."

 

 

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Lent- Day 3: A chasing after the wind.

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(Marie Claire)

 

 

Last week, as Kanye West's post-Grammy rant went viral, my brother Joe sent me a simple text:

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Transfiguring life.

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(Source)

 

Yesterday was the Feast of The Transfiguration of Jesus, a day observed by millions of Christians worldwide. The story can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Here it is in Matthew 17:

 

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

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She's still dying on Facebook.

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Joscelyne's Facebook profile.

 

 

Yesterday morning, I nearly choked on my coffee. The near-choke came while reading "She's Still Dying on Facebook" at The Atlantic by Julie Binton. The story recounts the last days of Binton's former BFF Leah which is on display in perpetuity on Facebook.

 

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