When someone finally succumbs to the ravages of cancer, there is a sense of peace and joy you have for them. Their pain and suffering are over. At the same time, there is sadness, the harsh reality that that person is gone from your physical world. This is how I feel about the death of deacon peet. I never could understand why people were calling him "simian" as I thought "Pete" was his real first name. I didn't realize "peet" was his last name until I read his obituary. All I know is he was a man that touched my heart in our brief time that I knew him on this earth.
I never did a prayer vigil for a real body before. On good Friday it was common for people to read psalms from good Friday to that start of the years longest service with Easter. Like anything, the prime hours were all taken, and the middle of the night was wide open to read. It was the same for deacon peet, and everything got worked out where I got the 2-4 am a slot. With dad in the hospital and all the other fun that is being put in my path, I had to admit I struggled to get up at 1 am with a short nap and make my way to find a convenience store open for a coffee to help me wake.
When I walked into the church, there was a wooden coffin with some amazing lettering and paintwork. It was a typical deacon Peet. A bit of splash and unique style. All I want is a simple old west wooden coffin. His had a style to it and beautiful detail in paint and finish. He laid facing the altar and all the icons, and I really wanted to take out the camera and snap a photo, but I didn't. I am not sure if it is because it reminded me of the monks in a monastery that don't want their picture taken, yet, they would provide some of the most amazing photographic images in the middle of the night? Or in today's world of selfies, did I selfishly want to remember the picture of what I saw just for myself and my memory?
I felt out of place as I took over for a man that I think was somehow a member of the clergy and was thinking, "what am I doing here?" but started to read the psalms where he left off. I think it was around 130 and I think I ended at somewhere in the '60s or 70;s. I don't really remember as there is something about a vigil where you speak and get a feeling of peace. It is very different than meditation and stillness, but there is a peace of sorts.
That peace was given a dramatic flair when a massive thunderstorm hit the town about 3 am, and I had competition and/or accompaniment with saying the psalm with rain pouring on the metal church cupola and the thunderclaps. I think I looked up at the coffin and might have said, "pretty impressive, sendoff deacon peet!"
Perhaps that is where I am with God. I am a little grain of sand in a giant cosmos. I sin all the time in thought, word, and deed as the reality of perfect love and communion with God is something that eludes me as I try to overcome my flaws and passions. I guess it is frustrating to me to know all too well where the world is heading because I was the prodigal son, who was a doubting Thomas, that had a Damascus road experience to forever alter my life in a way that most of the world probably thinks is abnormal.
It is hard to have people take when people think one thing of you, and the reality is the opposite. "what? you don't' go out drinking, take drugs, and lead a life of sex and fun?"
"Nah, I actually sit a lot and pray."
"what's wrong with you?"
"nothing's wrong, I just was touched by God, and I can't go back to what I was again. while I can, what is the point? The world doesn't fill my heart and soul." while the world is full of a lot of fascinating and fun things to do – once you have done them, you realize they will never fill you up. The only way to do that is inward, not externally.
I guess this is odd as yesterday morning I was talking about the woo woo rooms, and the discussion of TRE therapy was brought up and I had to say, "yeah, I can take technology and apply it to a human and alter and help them get to an alpha, theta, beta, and while not really desired the delta stage…it will just be a man-made moment and you get near that invisible barrier that holds you back from breaking through to the energy of the creator. It explained it better verbally than I am here – but I mentioned, "you don't need anything to breakthrough except to be silent, still, and wait.
"that's it? how long?"
"till it happens. a breakthrough is a gift form something beyond yourself."
I don't know what happens after we actually die in our physical bodies. There might be absolutely nothing, but via experiential living, I have the faith that there is something far more amazing and more significant in the cosmos, most likely in a dimension we can't experience in our current forms. Many times I think about "100% pure love" and wond3r if as humans we are operating at about 0.00001% of love? The difference between pure love and what we have is that vast. Just as our ability f evil goes far, beyond the lunacy, we hear about in the news.
At 4 am, a man in robes came in to read. He was a member of the clergy as well, and I was really wondering what on earth I was doing a reading for deacon peet. I have to admit I got a bit more formal in speaking, as if, "oh wow, I was having a great time just talking from my heart and reading psalms with deacon peet laying there in his spiffy wooden coffin with the crisp painted lettering. It reminded me of hand pinstriping on the cars of the 60s and '70s. People don't realize a human hand did it because it looked so good.
I digress. I said my goodbyes to deacon Pete. He was a man I am thankful I got to know a little about, but I never got to have enough coffees with him and talk about the world. So yeah, I kissed the wooden coffee and shed my tears. I won't be going to his funeral, as I will be in the hospital with dad, who is having some rough moments
It is almost 5 am, and I am sitting in a grocery store drinking my convenience store coffee because it is about the only thing open. Times have changed here. Gone are the 24/7 places and diners.
What I wanted to write about is the peace in my heart and soul is being challenged as I am back in the ordinary world where I look up, and a plethora of ad's for food. We really don't realize how good we have it in the united states and how much we are missing the point of life these days. It is a lovely convenience to have so many choices, but I wonder if it doesn't distract one from that which is really important in the grand scheme of life?
I was reading a research report on mental health quality in urban environments and then another about the ever-dwindling ability for humans to see the stars because of the light pollution we have created. (I really hope to never see the space billboards in the sky in my lifetime)
But if you want to really feel small. Go out into the middle of the dessert and set your alarm clock for 3 am. wake up. Go outside of your tent or cabin and look up at the star-filled sky.
What never changes for me is I think I mumble, "oh my god" when I see just how many stars and the milky way above my head. It is nature, and God humbling me.
I need to sleep, but I am not tired. And this is just my morning brainstorm ramble. I have covered a wall with post-it's as I see what I have to grow and build in the next month of work.
Thanks for letting me ramble…I guess I am up a wee bit early for my 5:30 am wake up. So much for my idea of getting no habit with my circadian rhythms.
Perhaps the controlled environments will provide something good for people in the form of healthy food and healthy spaces to go and be still. Time will tell.