East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Lent- Day 27: For rich or poor.


savinme

(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 24: Everything?

Spoke with the BFF about an hour ago and she asked me if anything was new. "Um... with me? Nope. Just the same ol', same ol'. Except this blogging everyday again stuff... I feel like my time is really limited. I added something but it's not like anything else got taken away. So there's still meals to cook, Zoe's homeschooling, cleaning...", I trailed off as I pulled a tray of meatless meatballs from the oven.

 

No, there's nothing really new with my day-to-day life in the past month. I'm still getting Zoe to her Vocal, Dance and Gymnastics classes every week, followed up with addition flash card drills, Social Studies on various countries around the world, and the proper construction of stories. There's also piles of laundry to put away, and stacks of dishes to wash, and vacuuming and... so on. To be real, the non-newness of SAHM-life, crossed iwh the frustrating challenges of being disabled started to grate at me last week. So much so, that by Saturday, I found myself inwardly griping about... everything. My weight, my acne (at 35! Ever since the chemo last year...), my marriage, my... God. I started to annoy myself and turned on Dave Chappelle's new Netflix specials just to stop the inner soliloquy. By the way, it worked.

 

Emotionally, I've been cool the last couple of days, which is great because my devotional reading today from "Lent with St. Francis" was titled "Do We Like Complaining?". And later, I stumbled across I Corinthians 16:14:

Do everything in love.

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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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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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Congratulations, Aja & Paul!

isaac

 

 

Congratulations to my wonderful friends Aja and Paul Thorburn on the birth of baby number three, Isaac, who was born yesterday morning and weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces.

 

He is joining big brother Theo:

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Larry's Daughter.

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About twenty minutes after leaving the graveyard where we laid my father to rest, I stood in line at the nearby Starbucks. It's "my" Starbucks, the one I spent hours studying in during college, where I took part in Bible studies, discussed matters of importance and frivolity with Joscelyne, and of late, just go to get my order and split.

 

When it was my time to order, I got my usual- a venti soy white mocha- along with a frap for my nephew Justin and a chocolate milk for Zoe.  When the friendly barista asked my name, I said, "Larry's Daugter". She repeated it back to me with a slightly quizzical look on her face. 

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Lent- Day 30: For whom the bell tolls.

Clifton Campville Church Bells

 

(Wiki Commons)

 

So I am totally being lazy in the Soren Kierkegaard class I'm taking. Assigned to read Plato's "Euthyphro", I haven't been able to read more than a few pages before having my brain scream "Nope" and start daydreaming of how cute K would look in a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. 

 

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Lent- Day 29: Before one of them came to be.

 bookoflife

(Source)

 

 

 

Momma Kathy is busy, with the help of Monica, arranging Daddy's funeral.

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Lent- Day 26: Waiting.

We sat today, waiting. Waiting for my dad to die.

 

He was moved to hospice this week, and a little after 11 this morning, they shut off the respirator.

 

My grandmother, cousin Velvet, her husband Mike, cousin John, brother Joe, his wife Jenny, stepmom Kathy, her sister Monica, K, Z and I all sat vigil. Prayed, sang, talked and laughed. Streamed music through an iPad and sipped coffee and tea.

 

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Lent- Day 25: Sorry Ms. Jackson.

simpcon 

 

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 12: Trashed teddies and trust.

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I snapped the picture above while out running errands this afternoon. I spotted what Zoe calls "The sad teddy bear on the ice" set out for trash. Filthy, wet and torn, I felt sad looking at it. Zoe had brought her stuffed Curious George along for the outing, and I couldn't help but compare the two. George, clean and dry in Zoe's arms, her favorite since Christmas, very much loved. I wondered if that bear was once some other little girl's beloved cuddly friend... now discarded.

 

I spoke to my good friend Kandi who lives overseas a few hours later via video call, catching up on family, career, and Zoe. She talked over the past decade of her life which has seen her move 12 (!) times, change jobs,  live in two different states, different countries, travel the world, and marry. A number of times she has wondered how she'd go on- laid off, owing thousands in school loans and having her heartbroken in a failed relationship. But in every situation, God always made a way. Actually, not just a way, but the best way

 

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Lent- Day 10: Bookends.

cacr

Our poor little Civic. :-(

 

 

 

I started the week feeling frightened by my father's declining health. I'm ending it feeling shaken by a car accident.

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Lent- Day 7: Suffering as muse.

The Scream

 

 

"No longer shall I paint interiors, and people reading, and women knitting. I shall paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love—I shall paint a number of pictures of this kind. People will understand the sacredness of it, and will take off their hats as though they were in church. I shouldn't like to be without suffering. How much of my art I owe to suffering!"

-Edvard Munch (as quoted in George Heard Hamilton, Painting and Sculpture, 1880-1940, 1967 and Joy Schaverien, The revealing image: analytical art psychotherapy in theory and practice, 2009)

 

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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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Can other people's expectations change your reality?

 

blindness1

(Source)

 

I just finished a recent This American Life podcast and it really touched me. As a disabled person, I could relate to the main subject of the hour, Daniel Kish... I mean, of course, in my own way. My doctors were once taken aback by the fact that I live in an apartment building with a flight of stairs I must utilize in order to get in or out. 

 

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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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The fault in my stars.

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I've never been into astrology.

 

Not just because I was raised that in fell into the category of the "occult" and was not to be dabbled in, but because it made very little sense to me. At least the way it was told to me, that your life was predetermined based on your birthdate and what type of moon and stars you were born under. So everyone with the same birthday should have the same exact horoscope, the same personality type, the same predilections in love?

 

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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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