Sunday Sermonette

Blog Post
It’s difficult to live life without picking up ‘baggage’ – and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. It depends on what the baggage is and on what we do about it. The worst is the baggage that we don’t know about, because that’s almost always problematic.
Our ethics, what we value (and by extension our metaphysics and epistemology) are revealed by our aesthetics. Think about what movies, TV shows, books, stories, blogs, or news articles you like to consume. The kinds of entertainment we like, or the fictional characters we identify with, act as a litmus test for our ethics.
What art is hanging on your wall? Is it realistic, like photographs, or hyper realistic paintings? Or is it abstract? What is the subject matter? All these things can reveal how you fundamentally view the world, and how you think about knowing the universe.
Just as asking about how one views consciousness will reveal their metaphysics, what one surrounds themselves with, or their aesthetics, reveals their ethics, and ethics is codependent on their metaphysics and epistemology.
We surround ourselves with what we find comfortable, reassuring, and by being invited into the home of a stranger and looking at those things, we can come closer to being brought up to speed than in any other way.
I visited a friend the other day who is in early stage alzheimer’s. He knows what will kill him unless he wanders under a moving bus first. The walls were bare, the furniture minimalist. Nothing remained of what had been since he and his wife sold everything and moved into a small, but clean and neat apartment. The stark walls and the capacity to pick up and move everything within half an hour or less made me uncomfortable. They have six children (three natural, three adopted) who are now adults. No photos of the grandchildren, no hint of — anything. The walls reflected his current state of mind. No baggage.

I don’t want to end up without SOME baggage. Then again, there are no hearses with luggage racks.

End of sermonette.

22 thoughts on “Sunday Sermonette

  1. I would think his doctor would advise differently. To have stuff around to remind him or make his ask about. But then again, no one knows what goes on in the brain when he is sun-downing or completely out of it. We tend to judge things in our world, not theirs.

  2. I think the best we can hope for is that some of our baggage will be passed on to future generations. I keep my clothes in chest of drawers that belonged to my grandfather. We eat at a table my father bought used and re-finished.

    As to Alzheimer's, I will only say this–In this life I have learned that there are indeed fates worse than death.

  3. I believe that it's incumbent on all of us to leave something good behind – something of ourselves that may inspire or stand as a positive example. I think that it's also good to leave something tangible behind – something that we loved. I have a provenance list that deals with a few small things that were precious to me and it explains what this or that meant to me and why they are (one day 'were') important. Passing it on is not about an object as much as it is a story. It's just an approach that I've taken.

  4. A year before Dad died we were going through old photo albums of his flying days and he told me the stories behind the photos so I could write it on the backs. Those photos and his wings are the most important things he could have given me. They mean more than any stuff.
    Walked into a friend's mother's home and the whole history of their family was in pictures covering the entry. Beautiful! I'm anxious to be in my own abode so I can rehang the photos of my little family.
    Dementia and Alzheimers are horrible diseases that not only befall the elderly. There are several I know with them, in their early 60's.

  5. Excellent sermon and I totally agree. The aesthetics of our age reveal its nihilist metaphysic, to say nothing of its immorality.

    Speaking of baggage, don't forget the BABY.

    That is all.

  6. Spent 15 years watching my mother going from a 5'2" warrior who punched way above her weight to a bed ridden body with an unresponsive brain. Ghastly, dementia!

  7. Mine is within arms reach of the computer. Best stand clear (duck and cover) if I need to open it. The hot brass might feel like warm rain on your back.

  8. I don't know about the lack of photos or the minimalist approach. I do know that when I brought communion to peeps in the Alzheimer ward, I learned quite fast to not ask questions (I'm smart – it only took once) because when they can't answer the question they tend to become agitated. I also learned to just go with the flow and "enter into their world."

  9. Lovely post, LL. Thanks. There's been a few times in the past weeks where I've had trouble thinking of the right word. It sends me into a full blown panic.

    I have hubby's word that if I ever come home with a lime green checked polyester pantsuit (with top stitching – Ewwwwww) he will take me out back and shoot me.

  10. I know very little about it except that it's 'living death' – and there is not one good thing about that.

  11. I was just visiting with my best friend today. He was my best man 26 years ago.
    He didn't know my name or who I am.
    He probably doesn't have long.Running his wife ragged.
    I then visited with my friend who lives near them.
    His father is the same way in a home in Florida.
    He said he'd take the bus if he found himself going that way.
    Me? It's gotta look like an accident.

  12. If I knew that was absolutely on my way out that way…there is always Kipling to fall back on and the Grave of the Hundred Head.

  13. My mother is about 2/3 of the way down that path, and her father died of it. I'm sometimes convinced I'm feeling the first effects, but then think I'm a hypochondriac. I don't want to go there. No way, no how. All brain/nerve disorders are ghastly, though. MS, ALS, Huntington's. The last is probably the worst, in my view, since it's hereditary, starts young, but after you've probably had kids. I knew twins whose mother had died of it. When one started developing it, she shot herself. The other already had kids and didn't, but she later tried to in a nursing home, unsuccessfully.

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