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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Yesterday, a beautiful day was had by all--I mean, I had a beautiful day.

Up at 5 a.m., I was at the Radiology center by 6:30, far too early for my 7:15 appointment, but it's sometimes difficult to plan it exactly. I was through and released to a normal life by 4:30 p.m. There was a time they sent me away for two and a half hours. It was a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky, but fairly chilly for sitting around. Eventually I found a perfect bench in Central park, in a suntrap out of the wind facing south, where I could catch the sweet scent of blossoms of some sort, wafting over me in waves. I relaxed so well I actually fell asleep. So I woke up with a red nose and forehead. For someone as sick as I am, I now look remarkably healthy. Way to go!

While going from one Radiology waiting room to another, I noticed my crutch had lost the one crucial bolt that keeps the thinggy in place on which I lean all of my weight when walking. It could have happened when I was disembarking from a bus--I would have flown out like a witch falling off her broomstick--I felt so lucky to discover the loss in a place where it didn't matter. One of the radiologists took my crutch and went off somewhere into the back and fixed it. This little incident has made me wake up to the fact I must pay close attention to details more than ever these days and avoid unnecessary risks wherever possible.

On my park bench, after my nap, I engaged in a most interesting conversation with a stranger sitting nearby and who had told me the time (I don't wear a watch, and I had no idea how long my nap had lasted and whether I should already be back in Radiology). He was most kind, articulate and pleasant, and we could have talked more if both of us didn't need to go off somewhere. Thank heavens for the company of strangers!

In Radiology, the space is very tightly laid out, just enough little cubicles all in a row for dozens of people to get dressed and undressed behind their own curtain. The patients in their short little gowns keep passing down the corridor, the doctors and technical personnel too, it's a constant bustle in which from time to time you participate to go to the machines, the toilet, the reception area, or to look for another "room" (that's what they call these little cubicles) to wait for what happens next. Every time films have been exposed, you wait until they are developed and someone considers whether they are "good pictures" or not, and if not, you do it over again. At the end of the day, one of the doctors comes and releases you, along with whatever information he feels like revealing directly to you. Most often, it's something like: "I'm going to send the results to your doctor."

The particular center I was at has scads of doctors, some of whom I had already had dealings with (contrast injections, crutch repair), but I still saw several pass by who were complete strangers to me. There was one who caught my attention because he appeared to be such a charismatic character: tall, poised, dignified, elegant, good looking, a head of completely white hair and a mellifluous voice. When my time came, he was the very one who saw me, and I felt so fortunate. On top of everything, the guy was kind--what a bonus.

I went straight from Radiology downtown and crosstown to my temple, where I had planned a memorial for my mother.

She was killed by the Americans sixty years ago on May 8. But, as I like to say, even if she had not died then, she would still be dead today. The memorial toba I offered for her celebrated her 105th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mother!

When I remember the facts of my mother's death, which I witnessed closely because I was sitting on her lap with her arms around me when it happened, my heart cries for her pain. Although I remember quite clearly how I felt at the time, from the point of view of who I am now, I can also empathize for the terrible emotional pain she experienced, above her physical suffering, realizing she was dying and leaving her two small children behind with, as it would have appeared to her I'm sure, no one to protect them--underneath a collapsed building, with bombs still exploding all over the place, and no other human being except me able to answer her cries.

My mother's pain is mine. When I do toba memorial for her, it becomes bearable. No matter what, when I think of her, the pain of all the mothers of Iraq becomes my pain too.

Eveybody believes exactly what they want to believe. My mother's death, and the simultaneous death of her own mother, tore the curtain away from irreality and revealed to me the truth of things as they were. It was the instant consternation that there could not exist a God as he had been described to me, it had to be the very Devil if there was such a power. I could never again go back on that realization, any more than I would ever believe in Father Christmas again when I had found out he did not exist.

I believe it is everybody's inalienable right to believe in whatever they choose, or if you prefer, to choose what they want to believe in, whether it makes sense to me or not, or to anyone else. I will just say this, however, to the religions of the Book, the Bible, who share among themselves the majority of faithful humanity alive today:

To the Jews: Going to war is a sin against the God you believe in, Jehovah, and a desecration of his law.

To the Christians: Going to war is a sin against the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, and a desecration of the teachings of Jesus.

To the Muslims: Going to war is a sin against Allah, and a desecration of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

There just cannot be any justification for the untimely snuffing out of anyone's life, and then declaring: "It's God's will!" If this is truly your God's will, please get yourself a kinder god, one of love and compassion, one of justice, not one of vengeance and retribution.

The fact is that Mankind likes to declare God created Man in His image: the truth of the matter is that Man creates his god in his own image: cruel, greedy, stupid, devious, unfair, self-centered, merciless. How crazy does one have to be to feel any satisfaction in creating for oneself such a destructive role model?

Don't you know your intention gives direction to your life? Don't you know it all starts, over and over, from moment to moment? With your every thought, word or deed? Your "karma" ("action")?

Like I always say to those around me, those who rely on prayer only, "You can put rice on the altar and pray, but ******** will still not cook dinner for you".

In other words: you get what you put into anything. Don't think you can do evil to obtain good. If you plant an acorn, you won't get corn. If you want an oak, you can't get it by planting a mustard seed. It's up to you to keep clear and not plant what you don't want to see grow around you.

Well, to finish on a lighter note: my little window boxes are filled with some green thinggies, self-seeded from last year. I don't have any idea what they might be. I am not in a physical shape to plant anything right now, so I am allowing these little self-starters to enjoy their lives right there. I may have a field of weeds! Wouldn't that just be a hoot?
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