These last few days I am more aware of prayer. One person I was praying for is now doing super and the other has now chosen wisely to stop eating and allow her transition. She has chosen verses to be read through the process and is spiritually prepared.
I think the health care debate has us all more aware that as we near the end of our life, decisions need to be made. In the past, there weren't all these possibilities or ways to keep people alive. What is humane and what makes sense for each one of us? We can't know how we will meet our physical deterioration.
I spoke with someone recently who said he and his wife, when they were young, planned to take the easy way out when health problems began, and I'm not saying there is any easy way, but it's also not so clear when you are truly facing challenging health problems together, and so what are the lessons learned in caring for another, in helping them through a transition that may be painful, with little quality of life, and yet, somewhere there may be, certainly there is, a jewel.
I have read statistics on the number of children who have contributed greatly to society and were not the first or second child. The idea is that we lose something if we attempt to control the population, to limit the number of children a family can have to one or two. I have read what has been required in China to limit a family to one child. It is horrifying and also has led to a preponderance of boys since they are seen as preferable, so girls are more often aborted or killed.
I would hate to see that here, and yet the legislation in China was essential for the society as a whole. The planet is exploding with people. It seems that population control is in order and yet most of us shy away from a mandate, hoping the obvious will strike a nerve and people will make choices that appear to benefit the whole.
I also read that health care reform, having us all in this together, will place more emphasis on individual responsibility for health care. Of course, as Jan Henderson points out this morning, there is more money in encouraging us to overeat, so then, we need drugs to deal with that, and research to show that yes, normal eating is best. Again, I think we are back to common sense.
I have no answers though Marc Sherman has asked people to think of their fifteen favorite books, of the books that have most inspired or influenced their life. I am sitting with that.
I think to cohere the chaos I must start at the beginning with my beloved Book House, and all the nursery rhymes and stories there. That's one.
I loved Winnie the Pooh and read it over and over again. Two.
Then, came The Silver Sword and the Danny Dunn books and Nancy Drew. I'll make that three.
I loved The Little Colonel books. Four.
Little Women has probably had the greatest influence on my life of any book. Five.
So, now, as an adult.
War and Peace
Rilke's Book of Hours
Stanley Kunitz's The Wild Braid
Power vs. Force by David Hawkins
Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
Books and lectures by Fred Luskin
Books by Thomas Merton
Books by the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodrun, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg.
Books of poetry and cookbooks. Books of inspiration and love. Books, pages, bound. I love books!
Fifteen. Do you have a list of your own?
I must say that I am surprised in this list to not mention the novels of Jane Austen. I realize that I love them and enjoy them, but I am not guided by them, not necessarily inspired to a "better" life. They are novels of manners and they are novels of social commentary and though the "good" people end up together and happily married, or so we imagine, her wit bites with an angry and condemning tone.
Life appears rather black and white.