Reflections about events and people at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago
Great post.Two things come to me as I read this...one I once said to my grandmother when I was a teenager that I didn't want to wear synthetic fabrics. She said "Synthetic? Where do you think it comes from Mars?"And the other is my grandfather got very sick. He was in the hospital just after having surgery for cancer and he was feeling very depressed and suicidal. In fact, he was feeling so suicidal he started thinking of how he would do it. A nurse came along and saw he was up in the night and crying. They began to talk and he said he just wanted to get home and take his dog and go into the garage and turn on gas with hose into interior in his car and go to sleep. He did not want to "fight cancer" or be in pain, or feel guilt and fear. He also said he felt very bad regrets for being so awful to his wife. He said he was grumpy and not nice and complained or fought with her.This was a guy who was a "grunt" in WW2 and there he was in terrible hand-to-hand battles which seem so brave....yet he was terrified of this new challenge. I couldn't understand why he was afraid NOW. It was like the line in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...."Why, you crazy...the fall will probably kill you!"The nurse said. "You're not dead yet. No one knows how much time they have and it's never too late to go back home and start being kind and compassionate to your wife. Change your self. See if you change yourself if that changes the way you look at this situation."My grandfather told me this story in the back yard, whispering and saying "Don't tell your grandmother." While he was nursing a gin and tonic. He had really softened his whole manner around the house with my grandmother.At some point, my grandfather noticed that life was a pendulum. Dark and doubt may be part of what we must experience but as time passes so we also might have better days and maybe even returning to a set point. The middle way from fluctuating between extreme events and emotions. If life is suffering and we have swings of fortune or difficulty. We don't know how the series of events might be with us or others who know us.In some ways my grandfather saw the return home and his recovery as a second chance to be more compassionate. He was already a nice guy....so to see him approach compassion as something infinite was very inspiring to me.
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