"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." --John 1:1, KJV
I. I've always loved the opening of the gospel of John, but last night I was lying on the couch staring into space and it occurred to me, what if we lived in a culture where Word wasn't God?
Would we be so very afraid of going "out of our minds"?(dementia: de = out of + mens = mind)
Of course the Big A comes with all sorts of horrors––"memory loss" is just the tip of the iceberg––and is scary enough on its own.
Still, I wonder . . . what if we, as a culture, weren't so worshipful of intellect? (I don't mean Americans value intellectuals, but we generally supervalue the take-charge functions of the brain).
L: Baby in water, from World Water Day
I got thinking along these lines because my father recently told me that he will end his life if he gets dementia because, he said, "I value my intellect too much. I see no point in life without it."
We've never agreed about this, but I understand his identification. He was a professor of political science.
One of our biggest fights when I was a teenager was over my question of whether rocks have souls. Actually, the disagreement wasn't about whether or not they have souls, it was about whether or not it was worth asking the question.
He said it wasn't: if we couldn't figure out the answer, it wasn't worth thinking about.
But I've also been disturbed by the Protestant Christian pastor who leads a worship service at the senior residence once a month.
Only a handful of people attend, and about half of them live with Alzheimer's. It's my job to hang around with them.
The pastor talks and talks and talks. She makes no concession to the fact that half the congregation can't understand what she says. (I almost wish I didn't: her Thanksgiving sermon was on the theme of "our" Puritan heritage.)
After that service, I asked my boss if the pastor knows she's talking at people with dementia.
My boss said yes, she's told her more than once.
"Can I wait in the hall and just stick my head in now and then?" I asked.
She said I could.
I'll bring my prayer beads and try to get out of my mind.
"Monk at Golden Rock," (Burma/Myanmar)" by David Lazar