Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monk Librarian #5

On Sunday our first reading in mass was from the book of Amos8:4-7. "Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! Sounds so timely. The poor are still being abused and exploited. Today on NPR's Fresh Air the author David Rakoff was talking about being in the trenches when his friends were first dying of aids, and sometimes going to multiple hospitals in one day to visit them. And he said that it was odd because there was a war going on, but it was a particular and private war that many people around him on the street had no knowledge of. Now David Rakoff has an aggressive cancer that may claim his arm and shoulder and maybe his life. And he thinks back to those friends he has lost...and along with his own fervent will to live...it remains in his mind that all the people that he knew, that did die, didn't die because they wanted to live less than he does. They did not die because their desire to continue existing was found wanting, in ways that his desire is not. He says that has been tremendously instructive to him. (It is instructive to me too as I think about the poor and the immigrants.) He also said that as he faces disfigurement and possible death he still feels great gratitude, he says, "I am so far ahead of the game, I have great medical care, I live in a country where I don't have to make sneakers for a living, I don't live in a toxic waste dump..." and here's the main thing..."you can't win at all the contests and then not win at one and say, 'why am I not winning ALL the time'.

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