March 25, 2014

Brendan Liturgy Part XV

“His body be placed quietly in a wagon, in charge of only one brother, un-noticed.”

This touches  parts of my internal world that has been with me for a very long time:

I think about my own funeral a lot.

A LOT.

Not in a particularly morbid way, but certainly in a dysfunctional way; in an attention-getting way. Maybe its true for many people, maybe a minority of people, but it is certainly true for me:

I am convinced that the occasion of my own death holds more potential for attention and praise than any event which would have occurred during my life, and so I long for it.

So ironic: that which I have craved most in life, if it is ever to be delivered, will arrive by the truckload on the day it no longer matters, the day I can’t “use” it. But it’s for the very reason that it will be the mother lode of approval that it gets so much of my attention.

The reflection questions in Part XV are very old friends of mine. But they are unhealthy friends. Though I have never written out answers to these questions, I HAVE spent considerable time fantasizing about them.

What would my tombstone say?

How would you like others to say goodbye?

What would you want your final words to be?

So many more…

I imagine there is a certain percentage of people who would benefit from contemplating these questions. Perhaps a high percentage of people who have not spent adequate time seriously considering what kind of a legacy they are leaving. I mean, for these people questions about their own deaths serve to bring them awareness about the PRESENT, right? That’s the point of the exercise. “Have you thought about how you’re spending time NOW?”

But for another segment of the population (of which I am a part) it may or not help to bring awareness of the moment, but it ALWAYS draws us to fantasize about how much attnetion we will get.

You can read about how I first imagined it could be when I read the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” as a boy:

http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/grol/twain/tom17.htm

This is a nearly perfect picture of my dream: to somehow be present as everyone sings my praises, weeps for my absence and perhaps even feels bitter regret because they never expressed in life how amazingly wonderful I was.

Part XV has drawn me into the open like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting:

“Hi, my name is Dan…(HI, DAN!) and I need attention.”

I’m truly grateful for Part XV.

But I will not be participating further.

On to the final segment….

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