St Vincent’s Hospital (2) — fellow mountain climbers

May 4, 2013

in Some Things to Think About

imageThis is a view from my room in St V’s looking west toward CBD Sydney, taken when I woke up this morning about 7:30M.  Had a good night’s sleep without all the ‘entertainment’ in the ER the previous 2 nights. Also slept later than I usually do — Oscar normally walks across my chest at 6 AM signalling it’s time to eat. I miss the little guy though.

Yesterday, the afternoon nurse was taking my temperature end I noticed a strange symbol on her wrist. “it’s Ekam Akar which is Sikh for One God.” I said I believed in one god too and she nodded. Made me happy that so many unknown people in their way acknowledge the same reality. She is part of my mountain climbing team.

Climbing a mountain

In a previous post called “The Paradox of Aging’ I used a metaphor of “climbing a mountain” for doing the work of ending your life well. [Go to Recent Posts on the lower righthand side to read that post.] I’m not getting maudlin or particularly worried about dying right now but my situation does make all this more real for me. I hope you’ll read what I write because we 21st century people put the process of the end of our life as far away as we can — and miss some of the richness of life when we do this.

When you unpack the metaphor of climbing a mountain, there are several key features that help you think about the process we all face at the end of our life:

  • The climber (me)
  • The Climbing Team — the people we are linked to as we climb the mountain.  This is a team sport — we are tied to others who help each other with the difficult climb.
  • The mountain — the challenge every human being undertakes as we journey from this life to an unknown life with God.

I have never climbed this mountain, but I have been part of my Father’s and Mother’s Mountain Climbing Team. What I learned from them was being peaceful helps. They were both good climbers and i want to imitate their serenity.

Who is on my Team? Certainly the doctors, nurses and others in St V’s. My wife Hacy, my children and grandchildren, and all my family and friends around the world. Facebook makes it possible for me to sense the links that are helping me up the mountain.

And what are the challenges? Probably, for me right now, it’s mainly  my feeling of uncertainty. What is going to happen? How will I face the challenges? I know I’m not alone and that helps a lot. I’m very grateful to all the people who are on my team helping me.

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