Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Spirituality of Advent, Day 3, Week 2

Today I will write a short entry about preparation for my own mortality.  Last week, I mentioned the type of mass I would like to have.  Since I wrote that, I have listened many times over to Landslide--a song that was played at the funeral I attended eight days ago.  Since then, I have also listened many times over to Take My Hand, Precious Lord.  And last night, when I was playing my mandolin, I found the chords for it.  Interestingly enough, after I was comfortable with the chords, I thought about a song from an old Christmas special--Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.  The song was When the River Meets the Sea.  I felt so awful when I realized that this song was attributable to being sung by John Denver and written by yet someone else--and not just a song from a muppet-based Christmas special.  On top of that, it apparently was on the Muppet Show 1979.  

How does all of this relate to preparing for my own mortality.  I was thinking that this would be an interesting song to have as an additional part of a funeral mass.  It is so mellow.  It is not an unhappy set of lyrics but the music is sorrowful. And it talks about souls leaving the land peacefully.  And it talks about understanding.  And it has a sense of finality in the phrase "when the river meets the sea."  And the chord structure and even the melody are basically the same as Take My Hand.

There are probably two other things I should do to prepare for my own mortality.  Last week in the health economics class I teach, we spent a lot of time talking about organ donation.  I have never filled out an organ donation card, but there is no reason for me not to do so at this point.  Especially if my other desire is to be cremated and not to be buried.

And what to do with the ashes?  I have thought long about this.  There are many places I could think of to scatter them--far and wide. But I think that the most meaningful places would be one of three, or maybe a mixture of three--somewhere on Penn State's campus, somewhere near Lake Superior, or somewhere along the NCR trail.  Perhaps if each is allowed it would be interesting to do all three.  The most obvious choices on the Penn State campus would be near the statue of the lion, in East Halls, or near the library.  For Lake Superior--near Pictured Rock National Lake Shore.  For the NCR trail--it could be anywhere along the first seven miles (the most frequently run part of the trail for me) and perhaps even further north.  I'm friends with enough runners, that perhaps there could be something like the story described here.

OK.  My blog during a time of hope and preparation has been rather morbid.  Life is not always happy.  And sometimes really thinking about how I would like my life to be celebrated--to the degree that I have any control--is quite a reasonable thing to desire.  I have now shared everything I can think of.  The next thing to write about preparation is how an exploration of my conscious and my actions would lead me to make further improvements or to keep on keeping on.  We shall see.   

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