Friday, November 12, 2010

Post-Einstein Appointment

Cleveland's Wade Park

It's always a sobering experience driving down to Einstein Hospital here in Philadelphia and focusing on one topic only: my failing kidneys.

As I near the total shut-off of these vital organs, I contemplate my demise. Fear? Not really. I think of death as simply a very long sleep. I'm comforted that my kids and their families will be inhabiting the earth - and also that millions of other wonderful people who love life and appreciate life - especially one's first college years, which I so much enjoyed - will be alive and contributing to our planet.

What's to fear?

I spent hours last nite watching several Frontline documentaries. I particularly enjoyed learning about how we got into the war in Iraq, the intense power struggle that went on in the Bush White House and how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld prevailed with their carefully woven web of lies as the might of America destroyed this once cradle of civilization.

But look! Here comes the sun over Charley's house. It's 7:45 a.m. I'm gonna listen to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane and start my new library book - Heat and Dust - by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala - A German Jewish woman who married an Indian architect - and became the screenwriter for the Merchant-Ivory movies.

Her book is fiction. Already on page 5, she has a wonderful line I'd like to quote for you:

And through it all I've learned one thing: you can't live in India without Christ Jesus. If he's not with you every single moment of the day and night and you praying to Him with all your might and main - if that's not there, then you become like that poor young man with the monkey taking lice out of your hair. Because you see, dear, nothing human means anything here. Not a thing, she said, with the contempt of any Hindu or Buddhist for all this world might have to offer.

Seize the day while your kidneys work!

And be sure to read my daughter Sarah's tragicomic post about our day at Einstein.


  1. Dear Ruth -

    Of course, you are right about what is there to fear. We do not fear that time before we were born, so why should we fear that time after death?

    Yet... you need to stay here for awhile longer. Yes, you do. Some of us are just barely getting to know a tiny bit about you and if you go too soon...

    Hopefully, there will be a kidney for you soon.

    As to that last quote, I came to your blog today shortly after reading the latest email from my dear friend and muse, Soundarya, who you have met in my blog.

    She lives in India, of course, and is Hindu. I have a whole, big, extended Hindu family there and I love her and them greatly, and my life is so much richer because they are in it.

  2. bill, i do indeed know your Indian friends b/c that is how i met you. my son was getting married - last august 09 - and i googled 'mother of the groom' dress. YOUR BLOG came up. so it's only a year that you and i have known and indeed grown extremely fond of the other.

    i do indeed plan to be around as long as possible. life is grand! wonderful! the sun is out and thru my drapes i see the autumn leaves still hanging in me!!!