“It ain’t the pot of gold, boy, it’s the rainbow…”
There is something both heartbreaking and inspiring about a dialysis center.
Heartbreaking, in that every chair is occupied by a person whose body has shut down to the point where their blood needs to be cleaned by machines. Most of them are older folks. Some of them talk and smile. Some of them hide their faces. Some of them are missing limbs.
Inspiring, in that every single one of these people is in a silent battle to stay alive.
There is an unsettling clarity that comes with watching someone’s blood being siphoned through a tangle of rubber hoses and into a medical device. It’s the stark realization that most of what we bother ourselves with in this life is, well…meaningless bullshit. All of it. Money or no money. Job or no job. House or apartment? Should I trade in my car for a new one? Does this make me look fat? Will I ever see Paris?
Unimportant bullshit. Or, as the book of Ecclesiastes says, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
What matters is clean blood.
Without clean blood, there is no life in which to stress and agonize over the stupid, ego-driven crap we stuff into our hearts and brains every stupid day of our largely-wasted existences. The people sitting in a renal center, hooked-up to the machines, understand this only too well. They are fighting just to have clean blood. Just to keep living. Just to be.
For me, personally, there is another wave of clarity that follows the first. Looking down at my stepdaughter sitting in one of those chairs, I realize that she, at 20, and barely weighing a hundred pounds, is stronger and braver than I have ever been, or may ever be, in my life. This clarity is even more unsettling, because in the understanding of it, I must also embrace the idea that despite having lived 50 years on Planet Earth, I really don’t know Jack Shit about anything. When it comes to living, I am still a novice. A child. And, perhaps like most of us, I have wasted years and years fretting over nothing.
What matters is clean blood. And people. Loving them. Being with them. For as long as you can. And being thankful for every blessed second of it.
That’s why God put us all here.
I think that’s what my friend, Kinky Friedman, is trying to say in the opening quote. How much of the rainbow do we miss, chasing after all those pots of gold?
The photograph was taken in a record shop in Austin, by my talented stepdaughter, Alysha. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.
Jesus loves you and so do I,