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What We’re Told, What We Experience

Spiritual Smart Aleck

Suddenly it became autumn, but it was not so cold or inhospitable on the kitchen porch this morning that the dog and I could not sit there staring into space and thinking deep thoughts.

My deep thoughts started with, there’s nothing like a quick trip to the Emergency Room to remind you of your mortality.

Yep, I had another exciting trip to the hospital. I was first seen here on the island, and was told, no, you may not go home and go to bed. Stop fighting your fate and lie down on the gurney. You’re going on a little trip into town.
This is the trouble with having a medical history. All I did was nearly faint, but anything like that is viewed with suspicion and taken seriously now.

So there I went, although not with the sirens this time. Nearly fainting is not a siren occasion.

At the end of an interesting evening of various tests, I was diagnosed with “near-syncope,” medical jargon for “nearly fainting,” and sent home.

Once more I was overwhelmed by the loving response of, well, everyone. My band mates, especially Lynn Carrigan and Erin Durrett, made sure I got to the clinic. Lynn literally held me up for a while. They also made sure my grandson was taken care of, and brought me a few items from home for my trip. Joanna Gardiner picked up Marley, the dog, and kept her for the night. She also fed Mellow the cat, who may or may not have noticed I was gone for a few hours.

The people at the clinic took excellent kind care of me, even though I dropped in on them unexpectedly. The EMTs who sat with me in the ambulances were friendly and professional.

The ER staff, all women including the doctor, was kind and efficient. The Yellow Cab driver who happened to be in the ER waiting room when I was released took me straight to Fauntleroy.

My sister from another mother, Becky, dropped everything to pick me up at the ferry dock at midnight.
Everything and everyone was great, all the tests showed I was okay. The near-syncope was probably caused by a medication I take.

As I sat on the porch this morning and pondered how wonderful people were to me that night – including the man in the SUV on the ferry who, when he saw me carrying a suitcase, offered to give me a ride up to the parking lot, and Patsy, the ferry person who was going off-shift and offered me a ride home – I was deeply puzzled by all the kindness and love I had experienced.

Yes, puzzled. You see, I am at a loss when people are so great to me, whether it’s their job or they are friends who genuinely care about me or they are acquaintances or strangers who are kind. I experienced the essential goodness of human beings, as I am sure many of you have experienced in your hours of need. It was good to be reminded of that essential goodness, especially at a time when so much seems so wrong in the wider world, and so many people and nations are behaving murderously badly.

But I was puzzled because when I was young I was told, among other things, that I was a bad person, self-centered and lazy, and that no one would ever love me because I was fat (which I was not at the time, just for the record).

Thanks, Mom.

I have lived long enough to see those words proven to be lies, but somehow, deep down, when what I experience shows that the lies are nonsense, I am flabbergasted. The reality does not make sense because of what I was told, and believed.

I am pretty sure we have all experienced hard times and hard people. I’m pretty sure most of us were told lies about ourselves when we were too young to know better. I’m pretty sure that we’ve all experienced the incredible loving kindness of which people are capable. Perhaps a lot of us experience the cognitive dissonance I felt as I contemplated that loving kindness.

When someone is nice to you, do you feel you don’t deserve it? Do you have old recordings inside telling you that you are not worthy? Is that your problem, Bunky? Those are lies. You’ve lived long enough to experience reality now. Believe reality, not the lies.

Then head out on the porch with your dog and hang out and think deep thoughts. Those cosmos you planted from seed might bloom yet.