Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day

This morning is a hard start.  Hard start refers to an engine that won’t turn over.  It refuses to spark.  I’ve slept in.  First time in months.  Usually I’m in this robotic routine that gets me up and out of the house to work approximately on time.  Thousands of days of work. Thousands of before dawn days.  Today the sun is shining.
I got up and moved to a chair to meditate. My mind wasn’t on God, or Peace or Bliss. I wasn’t ‘mindful’.  I wasn’t even able to focus on prayers.  My soul had attention deficit disorder.  The monkey mind staggering through its various concerns.  Nothing compelling. Just distracting. No energy apparently to focus.  I lack the passion for God. I want my bed instead.
I am the monk who went back to bed.  
I napped on the couch.  Eventually,  the dog, impatient,  climbed all over  me.  I'm a dog mat.  He  licked my face.   Alright, already.
I got up again.  I let mutt out.  It's a crisp day.  He peed,sniffed,looked about and came back in when I called.
I have the day off. A tabala rosa day.  Remembrance Day. November 11.
Remembrance Day.  My father was RCAF.  World War II Royal Canadian Air Force.  Thanks to the sacrifice of the soldiers I’ve lived  a life of relative peace dealing only with self righteous smug and power abusing bureaucrats rather than facing the more judgemental nature of bullets and bombs.  All I have to complain about is the silly grade school officiousness of the stupid and arrogant.  Elsewhere, outside of Canada, children are being killed by random suicide bombers with bad hair and bad attitudes. Mothers and fathers are keening.
I remember my father at the cenotaph.  I was with Laura then.  The RCMP were resplendent in red serge.  Dad was proud to be among his fellow soldiers. He was a west coast bomber in WWII.  He said they  thanked him for bombing a submarine.
“I think it was a whale”, he said. The fog of war.  The humility of my father.
I’m thankful for the privilege of the years working with Veterans Affairs. I saw the old men and women,   heard their stories of being young.   They told me they knew no better than to do as they were told.  They followed orders and nearly died rescuing friends.   It was a hellish time.  They were heroes.  They held their heads high.  They knew the meaning of friendship.  They had solid values. Their houses were built on strong foundations.
Now the veterans I see are more often from forgotten wars of other countries where petty tyrants fought their neighbours, all of it more like medieval jousts with people as peasants.    They saw no glory in their service. Their countries have forgotten them. Regimes have changed.  They escaped.  They live here now.  In Canada.
Here the silly and stupid  forfeit the very rights my father fought for.  The leaders made promises. They've reneged on them now.  They hide behind  the fashion political correctness. They're all up the skirts of girls using them as puppets.
“We’ve aborted more of our own people than the Nazi killed in the war,” she said.  The nihilism of the atheism of our secular age is so in contrast to the robustness of the last generation.   I look around and see the  Germany or Russia of  1930’s.  Except we have shopping malls.  The cathedrals and temples go empty but the parking lots are full.
Dad believed in the working man.  He didn’t know his creed was ‘meritocracy’.  Reward those who work for the common good.  He actually liked the politicians of his day.  Mother celebrated the city leadership.  There was a pride in achievement.  They worried about the greed of their neighbour and were furious about the encroaching taxes. Overall they enjoyed life.  They were  family.
 I was a part of family, still am, even though I fall apart.   It's just the way I'm wired or maybe it comes with my work.   The existential angst.  The scream on a wood cut bridge.  I have some sort of spiritual seizure disorder. I see myself flailing about when everyone else seems a happy cabbage in the happy cabbage patch.
Right now I've attached my discontent to growing old. I could as easily stick it on a political party or a winter season, a lover or just about any fact of life.
Who is that hairy white bearded straggly haired wrinkled thing I see in the mirror.
I don’t think my father wondered at the mirror. His was a more accepting bent.  He complained about the aches and pains of labour but he wasn’t concerned with mirrors. His wasn't a selfie generation.  The facade was critical.  Their generation had the lawns and picket fences. Ours has plastic surgery.  No one is without pretention.  Even the priests like their gold laced robes.
I’ve saved a lot of lives.  I’ve been present and trained for a lot of crisis, emergency and mystery. I’ve repeatedly, thousands of times now ,convinced people not to die, either by cutting out something, physically tying off something, stopping the actual bleeding or starting up the lungs again by thumping on a dozen chests or more.  Sometimes I just took away a bottle of pills, or  hid the knifes. I've been forever convincing people it’s worth it to live.  I've fought morbidity and mortality daily sometimes hourly for 35 years.   I do hope I'm right.
When I die I could meet a whole lot of angry people in paradise hating me for keeping them in their jobs and marriages, paying taxes and supporting the latest liberal regime.  In that personal nightmare of mine it doesn't matter how you got 'there' .  There are no conditions. You just have to get out of 'here'. The babies are the greatest winners in that afterlife. In that dream I'm the greatest evil there is. Satan selling life in this materialist secular Platonic shadow world when over the hill in the promised land, with no conditions. Unconditional love for all. Kill yourself and you still get a harp. Everyone has a personal cloud. There is no hell.  No hell. No purgatory. No loss or grief. But rather you awake in wonder and hate that 'fucking psychiatrist' who kept you chained to misery all those years.  And here I thought I was a saviour when really I was nothing more than a prison guard making sure everyone filled their allotted sentence, my own fear of death, holding others here.
Mostly these days I use all my training in motivation, analysis, hypnosis and pharmaceuticals to convince people to let go of the needle. I counteract the slavery of the pin prick.  It's all in the ritual. The blood letting, the injecting, the heating, the transaction, the sleep, the passion to avoid the pain.  The myth of Sissyphus. And then again the vultures come to pluck at the eyes of another Graecian hero.  They’re as fixated on their self made myths as my dog is fixated on his yellow tennis ball.  Their lives are reduced. Obsessions.  Compulsions.  Addictions. Slaves to the drug dealers.  I ride in on my white pony, more a jack ass, a harley davidson actually. I wrestle the man from the dealers. The dealers are actually kind of  glad to give him up now that they've taken his house, his home, his wife, his kids, his job, his dog, his health. There's so little money and will to live that our struggle for this remnant is ritual itself. They're interested in a new loser. They want a celebrity or a banker, maybe a doctor, or a lawyer, a younger heiress. That's who they'd rather devote their time to. So they let this one go.  I good samaritan him back to wholeness and hope he doesn't look back knowing he'll turn to salt if he does.
And I must reassure myself that I should live each day.  Each day I must reaffirm life. Sometimes many times in the day I must do this.  All day long my office is an argument for defeat.  It’s about suicide or addiction or leaving a marriage or a relationship or getting into another abusive marriage or relationship or not working or working in an abusive relationship with a satyrical boss or becoming a terrorist, or slashing.  Losing direction or faith and not knowing where the detour occurred. I come into the abyss and join the darkness to find you thn hope we  find our way back together.  You bitch and complain all the way and when you get into the light and have the strength to stand on your feet you will curse me forever for taking you out of your rabbit hole. There will be enemies of mine who will join you. Those are the ones whose finances I've affected by criticizing their hypocrisy.   I believe I'm  helping rebuild in a world bent on destruction.  I'm  helping lose  the needle back in the hay stack.  I'm suggesting we look for love and work instead.
What is the meaning? What is the reason?  
Death is stalking me.
I’ve been in the shadow of the valley.
I’ve held the dying in my arms. Now I am the dying. We always were. But didn't think of it that way. A daily dance.  A song of songs.  A cruel or kind embrace.
I’ve known the last words.
I’ve been the last face.
I’ve had little reason for doubt in those times.
There is a certainty in reality. I’m among ideologues, talking heads who can’t find their ass with both hands.  I’m unduly judgemental. I know their fear is like fingernails on glass. There’s a whine and screech I hear. I see it in their bodies. Their hypertension and the organ failures speak to the war they’re waging. It’s hard for everyone to go on.  I don't imagine others can know the sheer volume of experience, the screech of emotions as they talk and shout so many things, yet really think they're being 'discrete'.  The ones in uniforms are the loudest. They have the shortest fuses.  They judge themselves as they judge others. Harshly.
Even the rich and privileged come to their ends, face death.  The money men and women lack the equanimity of philosophers or poets.  "You can’t take it with you.", they even say ,unknowingly.   I hear their screams in terror in the anger of their skin. I see the pulsations of troubled arteries. The vessels in their eyes betray them. Their pupils are worth a thousand words.  They lie to themselves.  There is such terror in the death of materialists.  I’m bolstered by my spiritualism. I’m comforted by my faith.  The faithless flounder before life and death.   Lies no longer serve them in that last encounter.
He hung himself.  I knew him well.
I knew him and could not convince him that there was more to life than a needle in his arm.  I failed him as much as I failed the woman when I held her dead baby in my hands.  Oh I know there were others.  It takes a village to raise a child. The baby was dead before I was called to the hospital.  I was only there to witness. I recorded the man's passing as well. Our conversations about the 'culture of addiction' and the need for 'self medication', his 'right to die' and all that other stuff.  Armchair philosophers love to talk. He was a wonderful man.  So young. A mere 50 year old. Old for the dark ages but so young today.  So sad. Such tragedy.  The dealers had long ago stopped giving him money and fast cars. The good time girls had gone.  He was so sick he hardly stole enough for his needs.  He was alone in an SRO when they found him.  Hanging.
So many live their lives in jail or asylums. I don’t know how I could go on with out the wilderness or the sea.  I escape to these empty wild and full reaches where sometimes hardly a bird or an animal interrupts my solitude. The hum of the anthill city is far away. The illusion of the substance of crowds is behind me. I’m hanging on a mast or sitting in a clearing with a rifle watching and waiting.  The solitude washes over me healing like gentian violet.  The sickness leaves for a while.  The suffering is less. God the chimney sweep has taken away a load of soot.
Desire remains.
I miss her scent, her nakedness, the loveliness of her.  I miss the dying between her legs that resurrected and restored my faith as much as any time in the wild.  Before she lost her faith and way.  Before we slid apart.  Sweat is slippery.
He told me of the men on the upturned life raft in the North Atlantic, the freezing numbing cold, others slipping into the dark, then later the sharks.  He remembers the faces of the men..  He didn’t know why held on or why he lived.  Remembrance day is special for him.  He gives thanks and mourns his comrades long lost.  One day he expects to meet with them again.
I don’t know why, he says. I don't know why I never let go.
She thought it was all ‘luck’.  Mine was good. Hers was bad.  She was a victim. I was a victimizer.  I just remember the work.  I don’t like that they deny the work today.  Fatalism.  I prefer ‘karma’ and ‘retribution’.  Yet I really don’t know why I was born to parents who loved me or why I decided to always to work for the benefit of my fellow man while she set out to serve herself and her own and today is lonely.  I explain today it's for the money. That's the reason they understand.  It's only when I explain how to make money they see the reason in my serving. Was it only about the money?  How can they understand that it was little about the money. If you can save a life you can make a million but what's a million to a dying man.  I dream of being alone at sea again crossing oceans facing challenges and adventures, but going where.  It's always here.
I don’t know why I didn’t rest when there was ‘enough’. Like my grandfather and father I worked longer for the times of trouble and saved as they did.  All around me there were parties.  All around me there were ‘easy schemes’ but instead I just got up before dawn and went to work and returned long after dusk.  When I was "taking time off" I was learning other skills.
The government gets votes with redistribution schemes.   Steal from the rich and give to the poor.  More and more I see my counterparts working under the table,  working scams.   The rewards gone out of honest work. The sacrifice and work are no longer  redistributed.  Only the rewards are redistributed. The pay off is in the complaining.   The thugs steal the potatoes of the farmers till all is like Africa where no one ‘saves’ because ‘savings’ are stolen.  Like children.   It’s become that here with the banks and the greed of bankers.  My father told me of the men who hid coins in mattresses because they couldn’t trust the banks of his day.
Only the nouveau rich flaunt their wealth.
I’ve stored my earnings in education and now am aging towards dementia.  All the lessons of survival and success I’ve learned will be fore naught when my mind is lost.  Forget about the banks.  Insaniety erodes all much quicker.
So what is dementia. Not the silly materialist explanation. But Lethe.  What is the forgetting.  The stupid are always happier than the smartest.  There’s blessings in mediocrity that the mediocre cannot know.  Intellectuals are a morbid lot.
God doesn’t want our ideas as much as he loves our dance.
It’s not called the ‘song of creation’ for naught.  The celestial spheres make music.  I may lose my mind but I’ll not lose my inner ear.  I’ll always dream.  To dream that is the rub.
These days my dreams have been happy and adventuresome.  The nightmares still occur but less so.
I did like this coffee.  What a miracle the world of distribution is.  This global product is my miracle. My fridge is sacred. It runs on propane or electricity.  I have this wonder of a gas stove I’ll light again and make another cup. To savour a morning cup of coffee. This is true wealth.  It’s not the myriad of things but rather the ability to enjoy them. To have the presence and peace of mind to languish in the moment and love the celebration of creation. That is the elixir of youth.
What will I do today?  I’ve been reading this brilliant book by a new French Canadian author. I’d surely like to finish it before I see him next.  The dog definitely wants a walk.  There are meetings to go to, church services and gatherings of those who are honouring our soldiers.  It’s Remembrance Day.  I can’t help but remember my father.  I miss him.  We all missed my mom when she went first.  I was such a fool when I was younger.  There was so much I wanted to know.  But he knew I’d learn it soon enough.  There’s somethings one can’t learn with words alone.  Experience has taught me his wisdom.

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