NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Friday, October 9, 2020

THE "BIG 'C' " -- CANCER or COVID ?

"Live every day to its fullest.    After all, you only die once!"

Hey, have you ever been told by your doctor that you have cancer?  It's a fairly strange feeling.  I and you have been told by any number of relatives, friends and relatives that they have Cancer.  I had an uncle who was an "original" as we used to say in my youth because that is not usually a compliment in our vernacular.  But...he was a very interesting character.  A collector of hand guns and coins...and a connoisseur of both.  

One Saturday, at a picnic in our back yard, uncle Phil, that was his name, in his deepest, most serious voice announced that he had been told that he had the "Big C."  I knew that this was serious but I couldn't fathom why he had not just said "cancer."  It just went over my young head and flew by my early adolescent self and I turned to devouring frankforters.  He lived quite a long time after that.  He did die from cancer, but at my age I did not follow the case.

For those of you who knew Phil, his youngest child (Tony), is sitting in a Veteran's home waiting for the sunset.

Since then I have had to eliminate frankforters and hamburgers from my diet.  But Cancer?  Yeah, I'm looking into it.  I hope it doesn'r exacebate my gouty toes!  I have come quite familiar with the news.  A lot of it comes to me over the Internet, e.g. "I won't be writing much anymore, I've been told that I have stage 4 cancer."  Thank you.  Most often I come to know about it when suddenly the emails stop.  I give it a week or so...Hmmm, "lemme see."  Yup, no answer,  RIP.

So now, after all that, I have to say that I have a cancer that is very rare.  Hey, if you're going to have something, it might as well drive you to the science sources, right?  The doctors are scrambling to figure out what to do about it.  I don't blame them, neither do I.  I have to say that it is not very pleasant to talk about it because it is one of those X-Rated attacks that make life very interesting but less pleasant than it was before.  So far it is still more interesting than challenging for me.  Plus, there is good news about it all ... The discomforts and inconveniences, pain and such are minimal (so far) and  --  the doc is a man.

Covid-19?  That's the 21st century big "C" but I'm leaving it for someone else.  I prefer to look forward to being bald (Chemo, you know) than needing a machine to breathe.  I think that I can handle more face to wash better than needing a machine to breathe.  

I'll keep you up-to-date.  

Sunday, October 4, 2020

JOBS? YEAH I'VE HAD A FEW

 

That's the one, way on your right.

The other day I was talking to my son, the first of the two.  He has been out of work for a couple months now and is job hunting and considering his options going forward.  Since then I have been thinking of the ways that I have found to earn my keep, or even just my privilege to come home day after day with an idea of where I would be and what I would do on the morrow. 

Starting in the Summer vacation after grade 6, (1949) this my gainful effort biography:


1. Washing floors for aged ladies (3).  First ever engagement.              

2. Opening up a clogged sluice ditch for an auto body shop owner.      

3. Week-end shoeshiner                                                                          

4. Two summers on tobacco farms.                                                       

5. Worked for a construction company. (Under the table)                      

6. Worked in a comic book printing company. (Parts of 4 years 'til 1958)


Preparation for ministerial career and service in the ministry.  Then, in 1977, I left the active ministry and started to live in the "real world."


7. Short stint in start-up placement agency.                                            

8. Human resources career begins. (1977)  I had some hiccups:   

Fired x 2    --   Lay-off, Co-Failed  x2

So:   

a:  Interior painter, some employment, some contract                            

b: Telephone answering service operator                                                

c:  Amway practitioner                                                                            

d:  Melaleuca practitioner                                                                        

e:  Lecturer in Church supported Theology                                            

f:   Many stints (5) as a security guard                                                    

g:  Airport shuttle van driver (4 times)                                                    

h:  Medical transport (non-emergency) transport van driver

I can't let you go without mentioning the several years that I spent as a pilgrimage organizer, mostly to the Holy Land and occasionally to the site of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to two cowherds in the French Alps at La Salette.

With a past like that, I don't deserve any tears at my funeral.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BILLION - YES, THAT'S A "B"

 2,650,838,400 ON MARCH 6, 2021  (But hey, whose counting?)

Heart beats inside Paul Dion's body, not counting what happened in the warmth of the womb. I used 60 as the average beats per minute.  

I think that it is time to blow the whistle and call a miracle.  The kind of miracle that surrounds us every moment of every day.  These miracles are omnipresent and matchless in their steadfastness.  

Every now and then we think of them when we sense that they have developed a change in rythm.  It is at that moment that we begin to pay attention.  It is at that moment that we turn to the universe and realize that we are not alone among the miracles.  It is at that moment when our imagination runs beyond the confines of daily routine.  It is then that we turn to the wonder of creation.  Let's visit a time or two when I and the Voice from the Kitchen looked at one another and asked, "Is that possible?"

The time when we "rescued" a disheveled and shivering cat in a corner of our patio.  Neither one of us is a dedicated lover of animals, but we do respect them.  This cat was visibly in need of help.  As we stood there wondering what to do, we saw the neighbor and he saw the cat.  "Hey, Sunny, whatcha doin' here?"  One problem solved.  The question arose, "How old is Sunny?"  20.  Yes, 20.  That's a miracle.  At an average pulse rate of 150 @ minute, Sunny is way older than I am.                                                                                                    x x x x x x x x x x x 

I was driving for an enterprise that had a small fleet of vans to transport people to the dialysis treatment center.  One of my regular passengers was a rather aged Cherokee.  That's important because she was proud of it and she was spiritually immersed in her religious and cultural roots.  Friday, 5:00 AM, I accept her in her wheelchair upon the hand-off of her son.  She greets me as usual and then adds, "This is the last time."  I respond, "God be praised."

I drove her to the dialysis parlor, dropped her off and attended to her after the treatment.  Just as we were leaving the treatment location, she repeated her farewell, "This is the last time."  I again responded, "God be praised."  I dropped her off in the care of her son and left.  One hour later her son called to tell me that she had died.  It is worth noting that her legal name was "Morning Sun."

Now, I am not the only one with these experiences of this nature.  I hope that this short relation will awaken you to an appreciation of similar miracles that have come home to you.  While you're at it remind yourself not to cry at my funeral.




Monday, September 7, 2020

CREATION - DAY SIX - HUMANS -- DAY 7 -- "zzzz"-- DAY 8 , WORK-- DAY 9-- Oh, Oh!

Hello to one and all.I want to take the liberty to reflect with you on the spiritual dimension of Labor Day.  It is one of our oldest federal legal holidays.  (1894)
I dare to bring you back to the very first pages of the Holy Bible where the roots of Jewish and Christian faith find a basic teaching about work and labor.
Genesis :  Chapter 1; verse 21, etc:  God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them.  28 God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.  Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.  29 God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;  30 and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. [6th day]
Chapter 2:

1   Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.  On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.  3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Why am I proposing these thoughts to you this day?  Because it is Labor Day, the one day in each year when the people of the United States celebrate the efforts that hard working men and women make to keep the country happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
To see a historical overview of this poster
click on the link below:

We believers in the Word of God as found in the Bible, here in the first pages of Genesis, rest our faith in the command of God to take dominion over all that He has given us.  It is no secret that this command entails work, lots of work.  It also means that the reward is not just for the direct "worker" but for the benefit of all of creation - Labor.  The flourishment of all creation for all creatures depends on the concerted effort of every descendant of Adam and Eve. 

The concept of "Labor" is a rather challenging one and would require more than the +/- 300 words here.  That aside, since the name of the holiday is "Labor" and not "Work" it falls upon us to reflect a bit on the meaning that is carried in the concept of "Labor."  
"Labor" is, in fact, a generic term.  Think of it this way: The final cost of any commodity or service is determined by the entirety of the human efforts it takes to bring it to tangible reality.  The distinct human efforts that go into the final product to give it its final value, are "Work."
In Genesis 3: 
     The LORD God made for the man and his wife garments of skin, with which he clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and  evil!  Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?  23 The LORD God therefore banished him from the  garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.  24  He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the garden of Eden,  to guard the way to the tree of life.

It is to be noted that it is the "work" of the human that is being targeted while the finished product that results from it is the sum of the "labor" that redounds to the human's benefit.

Our Labor Day then, is as much a time for faith-filled reflection as it is of human thanksgiving for the fruits of human efforts, personal as well as communitarian.
Therefore, I implore all of you to thank our Loving Creator for endowing us with the gifts that we use to make human life better thanks to the gift of creative understanding with which He endows us, not just here in North America but across the globe.

As you mull this over, don't forget that it's against Dion's first commandment,
"No Crying at my Funeral."



Saturday, August 8, 2020

VIRTUE RULES FROM THE CENTER

 

This discussion from three years back came to my mind the other night as I lay on my pillow wondering how long it would take before Morphea would take me to her bosom for the night.  You see a graphic view of my friend's position (left) as compared to mine (right).  It is clear, I think, that both concepts of virtuous living are valid and both lead to the ultimate prize, Eternal Happiness before the Face of God.
The reality of the striving for perfection has two distinct facets: one is visibly practiced in the "real world" of daily human interaction on "Main Street" and the other is a dedicated striving for the deepest possible personal relationship with God by leading a life of contemplation in a monastic cell, away from the demands of worldly life.  Both are valid and moral forms of human behavior and both lead to heaven.  Both can and do invite the rash judgment of onlookers that the practitioners of these lifestyles are "crazy."
Then there is the way to heaven that states that "virtue flourishes in the center."  This position is the one that comes from the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle.  His position was christianized by the great Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas.  
At first blush this position can appear to be wishy-washy; neither here nor there.  Actually, upon closer examination it becomes clear that this behavior system is as difficult to achieve as the search for perfection of one position or another.  When we consider the demands of community life it is easy to find the difficulties encountered in every day interactions with fellow humans, all of whom have their behavior systems.  Every moment of every day we are required to make progress in our personal life as we help others to do the same in theirs.  It is in these encounters that we seek to carry the message of Christ to the world.  This message has to take on various tints and shades.  
This can be illustrated in the shades of life seen in the missionary activity of Peter and Paul.  Peter sought the center in his message to the Romans while Paul honed his message to fit the population of the Synagogue.  In the end, they both died for what they believed in.
Finally, I hope that we all have the courage to have absolute conviction of our life style while walking the Way of the Cross.  Martyrdom is not always quick, but it is always worth it.

Remember, no crying at my funeral.