I have read up to page 113 in This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared but hope that I shall read up to page 125 by the time this evening is up. Tomorrow I shall not read from the book, instead favoring The Last Unicorn. However, since we are having a Tuesday night class, I hope to read the 288 pages of the book read.
At first I had trouble relating to the book. I don’t mean to criticize; it just didn’t gel. However, finally I got to the portion where Lew discusses how he and his wife wanted a “spiritual” experience in her giving birth. He said that it was already hemmed in from the start: the doctors insisted she give birth in the hospital because she was older than most mothers. It got worse within the hospital, though: Lew’s wife had to leave the room because of complications in her pregnancy. Nonetheless, I guess they rated their “spiritual experience” rating high on how Lew’s wife gave birth.
I hate to admit to some cynicism when other people expect spirituality in terms of life cycle events. Or at least, so I thought at first. Then it occurred that I had a similar experience. When I went to the hospital for gallbladder surgery–and I know this doesn’t seem like extreme pain–during the month towards the surgery and afterwards, I felt as though I felt pain. I read the Jewish Publication Society Bible from Jeremiah to Chronicles and I read the Catholic “Old Testament” from surgery on to Yom Kippur (which was, admittedly, after the month after the surgery). I was told I was a good patient, but that I had complications in my surgery.
Next, about a year later and during COVID-19, I had similar pains in bed. It turned out–when I went to the doctor–that I had precancerous cysts on my liver. I might need surgery in 15 years, and in that surgery there was a possibility the surgery might itself create cancer. And of course, cancer kills. Right now because of this, I am taking walks and such because if I can reduce the size of my fatty liver I might be able to get a different surgery that will help cure me.
Both of these two instances involved pain. I know the reader thinks I am exaggerating… yet I did feel pain. And in my pain I did pray to God. And I admit that while praying I did not feel the pain eased, but that afterwards, when the pain was gone, I felt that God had been with me. I am not sure exactly how that helped me, but I believed that it did. I hope none of this is too mushy or sentimental for the reader.
It is that the experience Lew felt with his wife’s pregnancy–perhaps I felt it with the pain I felt in the emergency room, wishing the morphine would kick in–was something like what I thought.