Thursday, November 02, 2017

Shaking Things Up

My room circled in red

Every so often the Creator lets me be shaken up. It’s probably a sign that I’m getting too complacent, that He wants to remind me of my mortality, and that He sustains me in existence just has He does everything else. Not everybody who has read this far believes as I do, but it’s both an enriching and a sobering awareness. Here at Maine Medical Center where I’ve been staying for a few days there is lots of time to reflect. I’ve been taken out of my element and confined in another to ponder what I was doing before I came in and what I’ll do after I go back into the world outside.

It’s Monday morning and I won’t be getting out today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after that. I have little control and it’s blowing a gale out my third-floor window. There are few leaves left on the trees but some cling tenaciously while the branches are blown about violently. I’m right above the main entrance and I see the American and State of Maine flags on the pole out there are torn ragged and are tangled up with each other. Metaphoric? Perhaps the Creator has decided the whole region needs some shaking up.
Flag out my window
Five thousand people work here in this complex. Doctors, nurses, maintenance, and housekeeping staff keep it all running — mostly nurses. They’re very good here and it’s a kind of sisterhood. Because two of my daughters are nurses and they’ve been in here advising me, they connected with the sisters on the ward. Come to think of it, “sisters” is what nurses were called in England back in the day. So now I’m connected. I’m “family” as they put it. Nice.

Friends are watching the properties I’m responsible for in Lovell while this storm blows itself out. Messages and phone calls are coming in to my hospital bed and going out again. Down the hall, men in work clothes with hands accustomed to holding tools are on their cell phones instructing others to move generators around as they’re in here visiting family members.

I’ve always been busy, but thirty years ago I was even busier with a young family and all that goes with it. When my health problem flared up I’d be incapacitated for five or six weeks and discover again that the world could get along fine without me. It was humbling then and it still is. I’m not indispensable. I can be replaced. We all can. It happened five times in fifteen years and now I’m getting a reminder, but this time it’ll only be about a one week I think.

My mother turned 93 last month and five of her eight children helped her celebrate. All of us have taken care of her in one way or another for years whenever she’s needed it. We’re all glad to do it because she took care of us. Now my kids are pitching in for me when I need it. It’s a wonderful arrangement and it used to be the norm, but that’s changing. Visiting the Portland environs regularly the past five years, I’ve noticed far more people out and about with dogs instead of children. It’s a definite trend and a troubling one. Dogs are fine, but as substitutes for children?

Last May, France’s President Macron became the twelfth European Union leader who never had children. Others include Italy’s, Scotland’s, Germany’s, Luxembourg’s, Sweden’s, Holland’s, Latvia’s, Romania’s, Lithuania’s, and the EU President, Jean-Claude Juncker as well. I noticed the trend in my old profession. A fellow teacher leaned over at a contentious staff meeting and whispered: “Ever notice that the teachers who constantly profess to ‘care about the children’ the most never had any?” I looked around and realized he was right. It’s a definite trend and I don’t believe it’s a good thing.

No kids

Raising children can be expensive, time-consuming, heart-breaking, and tedious. It’s also rewarding, meaningful, heartening, fulfilling, wonderful, and sometimes you get grandchildren in the bargain. They’re terrific. All that experience changes us. Rising to the challenges of parenthood improves us and confers wisdom, and to completely deny ourselves is to diminish life. When parents and grandparents make plans, the needs of our offspring get major consideration that is personal as well as professional.

The Maker of us all knows this and I suspect it’s part of His protocol for those who would lead us. Some politicians may not be childless by choice and parenthood isn’t a necessary precondition for wisdom, but it’s a plentiful source of it.

As we rural folks go without electricity and all its amenities for however long during this latest shakeup, we will appreciate them when they come back. Then let us remain in that state of mind as long as we can.


CJ Johnson said...

It has been brutal down here in the "flat lands" too. Trees down, lines down, electricity off for several us all time to think, well except for Lineman. (God Bless Lineman and what they do to keep the lights on!)
Blogger's job is from Sun to Sun, Blogger's wife's job is never done.

Anonymous said...

Tom said: “Ever notice that the teachers who constantly profess to ‘care about the children’ the most never had any?” I looked around and realized he was right. It’s a definite trend and I don’t believe it’s a good thing.

Well I looked around the school where I work and realized that almost every teacher DID have children. So, just curious as to how you got this "definite trend" thing. Can you point me to some data that verifies your "definite" claim?

Oh, that's right, you don't answer anybody questioning your BS. So I guess I'm just here to call you out on it.

Glenn said...

Just heard about your hospitalization from Jessica. I hope all goes well and you’re back on your feet soon.
Yes, He does humble us, but it’s for own good ;)

Uber_Fritz said...

Just a note that the "stone thrower," Anonymous is just that . . . Anonymous. Reminds me of "Antifa" hiding behind a mask. Anonymous, perhaps you should "grow a pair!"

Peter said...

OK, I said it. Now you and Tom "grow a pair" and stop avoiding any question that you can't answer.

Anonymous said...

I know that being in the hospital can be a real pain. I was in a nursing home after hip surgery, and it was rather like house arrest in a hotel. I hope whatever ails you is getting better. Childlessness is to some extent of a selfish society that regards children as an inconvenience and expense. Of course not everyone is childless by choice. I only had one biological child, and she died(bipolar suicide).

Get better sonn, Ann McGarity

Anonymous said...

I can only offer my condolences on what must be EXCRUCIATING boredom while trapped in a hospital.
(Your results may vary, it was ALWAYS that way for me)

Tom McLaughlin said...

I'm back in Lovell and doing pretty well. Be back to normal next week sometime when I can resume my exercise regimen. Thank you all (or most anyway) for your good wishes and yes, the hospital is very boring, especially after the pain subsided.

I had a blood clot in my leg. It was dissolved and a stent was inserted. I was put on a second blood thinner to prevent a reoccurrence. Only a small cut to recover from. No bypass this time.

Mike Corthell said...

It was good to see you the other night at the market, happy that you're on the mend. Great column essay. :)