We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"Do you know my life story, LJ? Do you know how a man, filled with empty knowledge and the false assurances of gifts and youth, a loving family and a life undeservedly blessed, can squander it all for the pursuit of self-satisfying intellect, arrogance, self-sufficiency, and contempt of others? Have you been in that place of desperate emptiness, having pushed away your children and made your wife a living widow, driving forward with blind foolishness until your own hollow life is endangered? You say you have prayed and those prayers were not answered; I too have prayed–years on end–to a God I once served but who in mercy left me to suffer the consequences of a life driven by self-will and self-satisfaction. Hollow prayers, desperate prayers, prayers a fool’s cry for help to a now-empty universe. A God I once understood completely proved completely inscrutable, hopelessly distant, His ear–if He existed at all–turned elsewhere, His eye on more worthy subjects. Have you then seen–in an hour unimaginably dark–that same God you never knew reach down with gentle hands and unspeakable love, to scoop up this poor refuse and restore him to a life and hope he could never have imagined?"
Not one of his better pieces. A tad overwrought, unless he is concealing some crucial information that might be more embarassing than what he does reveal about himself.
What is it about doctors, that they forget that they go to the bathroom like everyone else does? They only impress each other, never me,when they maunder on with over-scrupulous consciences about abstract sins. Like a job applicant who "confesses" smilingly that her "worst fault" is that "Gosh darn it, I'm just so conscientious, I stay at work until midnight because I can't sleep doing a bad job..." Yeah, right...
The big problem with self-disclosure by physicians is that they say they're being frank but if they are responsible about what is, after all, a holy calling, they have to preserve their status as miracle workers, or else they will have less healing power. So they can only confess cute, funny, or mildly sobering sins and weaknesses, ones that do not make the populace lose confidence in their healing powers.
Oh maybe I'm just cranky dealing with NHS doctors today, (Americans, count your blessings) but I think your Doctor Bob has done a lot better other times. Some of his writing on addiction is good stuff. More authentic than this piece.
Witnessing is a form of praising. A kind of holy bragging about all the great things God has done in one's life. You will remember from parenting young children that general statements are not nearly as effective in cheering and motivating the young as specific ones. Therefore, I am moved more by a sinner who just tells his story, warts and all, minus his own editorial comments. Just the facts.
But, yes, you're right that I was harsh. I wouldn't have said it to him that unkindly. I would have gently urged him to see if he could recollect something concrete, like buying his wife a window squeegee for Christmas instead of diamonds, or kicking the dog, or sneaking in for free to the movies, or being an alcoholic.
I didn't mean that I wanted gory details. I'm a WASP, for God's sake. Don't want to hear about things financial, sexual or digestive.
Finally, a little more humor would have helped. There is something hysterically funny about the stupid ways we sin. All of us so convinced we are uniquely important. Maybe to God, but we shouldn't be so to ourselves...