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Fixated upon the pause mode, I squirm like a hapless insect caught within a spider’s web. Time gorges my days, swallowed whole: such teeter upon psychic indigestion, mess with routines of self-care, and plunge me into tomorrows when I’m not ready to go there. My controller still wants to call the shots, despite my practice of Step II, like spidery webs torn asunder by wintry winds.

Yet, like the insect, I remain dazed, powerless to change my present circumstance: I do have ILD with rheumatoid arthritis, a terminal disease that is shortening my life. But how? When? The dailyness of my symptoms renders me half-sick: weak, short of breath, and exhausted. Other annoyances, as well, irk me: Expelling infected mucus from my lungs eats into my afternoons; occasional brain fog scrambles for the next right word, both when speaking and blogging. Even my Dreamer seems to have dumped me.

Then, I remind myself that it’s not as if I’m preparing for an ice cream social.

I still benefit from the gift of time: Its windows correct bouts of impatience, with their disruptive playing cards, and enhance spiritual growth. That, alone, remains important. A second study of The Grace in Dying – How We Transform Spiritually as We Die awaits me; its dense material necessitates a calm mind and an open heart, deeper this time around.

Yet, I have come a long way since last November’s signing on for hospice’s palliative care. This is working out—my heartfelt thanks for coming along.

 

A new day

 

 

 

In my perception, Bong Joon Ho, the Korean director of the film Parasite, has crazed a global nerve still vibrating from its four Oscars awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Such films carry the wallop of myth, in former times, a spiritual force that corrected, educated, and inspired its listeners. Its title, Parasite, images the disgusting organism, secretive, invasive, even deadly, that lives in or on an organism of a different species. Often the host’s infestation remains undetected and mimics other diseases that complicate diagnoses and treatment.

The film Parasite presents the wealthy sophisticated Kim family and the scrounging Parks, both engaged in class warfare and seeking an elusive material security that pits them against each other. The parasitic infection is mounted through the cunning of Kee-Woo, the Parks’ teenage son and the story takes off from there. Beneath its surface, however, lurks an ominous tone that discomfits both families as well as the viewers. Something very dark lies ahead.

Although the film story runs two hours and twelve minutes, it plays into a much longer one in our psyches, one that unbeknownst to us, may have been running for decades—Thus, our parasite. Whatever our circumstances, material security has become the god of our consumer society, and greed, like the parasite, fuels this self centered pursuit.

How ferret out this disease that kills spirit? How do with less? How share with others without being condescending? When is enough, enough?

I continue learning …

 

Who does not get chills within the bowels of malice in stories of shape-shifting?

One of these is The Soldier’s Tale (1919), the collaborative effort of the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and the Swiss librettist C. F. Ramuz. Because funds were scarce in the aftermath of the First World War for the composition of large works, Stravinsky scored this old Russian folk tale with seven musicians and four actors/dancers, all sharing the same bare stage. (Check out YouTube.)

We grow to love this war-weary soldier, his knapsack on his back as he cavorts toward his village, all the while anticipating his ten-day leave with his mother and girlfriend. Suddenly, into his path steps the devil, disguised as a maiden who persuades him to exchange the old fiddle (his soul) in his knapsack for a red book filled with secrets for obtaining immense wealth. After three days of luxurious initiation by the devil, the soldier is hooked.

Years of prosperous but increasingly empty living begin to glut the soldier’s passion for fame, and he longs for his old life.

This story line is painfully familiar throughout oral and literary traditions all over the world: All is ours if we but surrender our souls to the devil. A period of unprecedented prosperity ensues until eviscerated by the maggots of worldly success. A longing for the way things used to be glimmers; within its light, some move toward conversion and return to ordinary life.

Others do not, including our soldier of this Russian tale.

 

 

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