Sometimes I feel like my husk, my body, is getting ready to shed, leaving only “me”—my core, my soul, my essence—behind. And where will I be then? Or maybe the question should be, what happens to the core “me”? Some would say heaven or hell. Others would say the essence returns to the universe in some other form. Others say that “I” will be born again, perhaps as some lower being, perhaps as a more enlightened being. Some might believe that, after death on this planet, the soul returns to somewhere in space where it originated. All those ideas are attractive to me in some ways, but not completely satisfactory. I have a very hard time “believing” in anything that takes place after I’m gone from this earth. Even though I take on faith that electricity makes the light bulb glow, and I can’t see electricity. But then, almost everyone agrees (has been taught) about electricity. But not everyone agrees about what happens after the body, the husk, has been shucked.
My body, the body I’ve never been all that fond of, has proved to be much more resilient than I every imagined it could be. It has survived, although with considerable wear and tear, numerous and considerable assaults—from chemotherapy and radiation and immune disease and countless episodic drugs for infections and “conditions” like gastrointestinal upsets of various kinds. I should be more appreciative of this body, this husk that protects the real me, as best it can. There’s only so much an old husk (I am 70, after all) can do to beat off the many threats to its integrity. There comes a time when rejuvenation, or return to the original state, is no longer possible. That’s where my body is now. And I find myself (the real me) frustrated with this. I miss the good old days when I could come down with something and then get over it. There’s no getting over it anymore. As one of my friends says, now it’s just all patch, patch, patch. Making do with the “new normal”, which changes frequently as my body deals, successfully or not so much, with new challenges—new drugs, new problems in the body, new attitudes in the “real me.”
Lately, I’ve noticed that the general culture has picked up on the insight that positivity is a good thing. And that “being present” can relieve stress. So we have lots of platitudes posted on websites and sent in emails and embroidered on pillows and printed on greeting cards, and in fact, just about everywhere. Be here now. Smile, God loves you. Love is the answer. But I’m still stuck on shit happens! And that’s how I view the wearing down of my body, my husk. It’s just one of those things. Shit happens. And as to what will happen to me, my core, my essence when my body, my husk fails totally, well, it’s always good to have a little mystery in your life.