Sunday, November 05, 2006

As long as you both shall live

Behold another dream is even now turned into mist.

It is easy, I suppose, to look on tragedy and hope for ease. It is easy to see the pain I do, and while longing to and working to ease it, nevertheless not wish it upon oneself. My previous post grows out of this easy route. But, in the fresh light of a new day, having seen not only fresh instances of the general curse laid upon humanity, but also the recently captured images of my three month old niece, I amend my thoughts.

It is true that Mrs. Walmswood is in great pain, and that her life, such as it remains, will be, in Hobbes' (the human, not feline, philosopher) words "nasty, brutish and short". But it will not be solitary or poor, the other qualities that singularly gloomy man ascribed to human existence. And that I think is the key to understanding here.

Humanity, with rare exceptions, exists in its most complete form only in concert. Life is a communal activity, and is meant to be lived as such. And though in isolation we can avoid certain kinds of pain, there are others we cannot avoid, and in the balance, it is better to be in company.

Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow

And seeing Mrs. Walmswood, I recognize that even in my prior thoughts, I touched on the reason her husband is still with her. Despite the irritating, monotonous quality her voice has, it is still possible to see the humanity in her, the humor, the wit, the soul. She told me a joke that I still chuckle at, hearing it again in my head.

None of us know the future, though it is easy, watching the parade of sickness while in the health of youth, to assume immortality for myself. And the decision Mr. Walmsood made not so many years ago could just as easily have turned out the other way, with him on the bed, and a bright, jovial Mrs. W by his ailing side. Life, it seems, is a bit of a lottery.

And since none of us know the future, and most all of us desire companionship, it seems we must be willing to "take the bitter with the sweet" and promise to remain "in sickness and in health," trusting that the other, also not knowing the future, is making the same committment. I guess there is more wisdom in those words than I suspected.

So, did you hear the one about the dyslexic devil worshipper? He pledged his soul to Santa.

Thank you Mrs. Walmswood. L'chayim, l'ahava.


zhoen said...

The best jokes come out of the most dire circumstances.

Dick Jones has a bunch up.

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