Midnight Musings

The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Instead, it gets turned into something else, potential to kinetic to potential again, an endless cycle of the birth and rebirth of energy.

Which leads me to my late night thought of the day: Is that how death is? Do we, in fact, possess souls, some energy or source – the very perfect mix of yet undiscovered particles – that when freed from this physical potential energy suit can then find another? Created nor destroyed?

Maybe that’s how astral projection works – we don’t necessarily need to die for that aforementioned soul to burst free for awhile. Perhaps it’s possible that some pieces can break out for a short time– like the water pulled from the air on a cold drink in summer, gone again back into the wind in time.

Who knows? But there’s a part of me that likes the thought, or maybe that’s just the human fear of death and sleeping pills talking.

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The Art of Becoming a Necessary Evil

donoharm

In medicine, professionals walk into people’s lives when we are needed. Our patients are usually not happy we’re there, that we’re needed at all. We try to help them through the darkest and scariest, sometimes the last, days of their lives – and we’re asked not to form a relationship with them. When they leave our care, we are highly discouraged from maintaining contact – most times with the hint of termination hanging in the air.

Some people are angry at their diagnosis and they focus that anger onto us – unconsciously placing a faint sense of blame onto our impersonally clothed shoulders. We’re viewed as rude, ‘too busy to care’ and only in it for the money, as if our pockets are growing fat with every 10 dollar aspirin. We are often understaffed and sleep deprived, rushing to do all the necessary procedures and dressing changes, evaluations and so on. We scarf down half of a dry sandwich for lunch to get back to our patients, where we’re met with their anger for their wait. A wait they perceive has been prolonged by a lengthy coffee break, full of laughs and joviality. Sleep deprivation is mistaken for apathy. I found this thing I identified so strongly with myself, a love for my fellow man, a desire to help, was being lost. It was invisible to the very people I was trying to care for. I was becoming ‘a necessary evil’ and I couldn’t handle it.

The beauty in life became muted. My coworkers, the hardened veterans of the field who’d seen, heard and smelled it all, told me to soldier on. “You get used to it,” or “It gets better.” The same shit they tell you in high school. I would think about the brevity of life often and I would panic, thinking about spending the better part of mine ‘muted.’

As a creative individual I feared losing that creativity. I spend most nights pestered by insomnia, my faithful friend. Passing the hours reading, drawing, painting, sewing, knitting or writing. I bleed with a desire to share something with the world, something beautiful and worthwhile, pure in a way I could never be. Something that touches someone. At the time, I wasn’t making any progress toward that.

I couldn’t continue. I am not made of the same enduring and devoted stuff that composed my coworkers, the longer I waited the more apparent it became. I want to see all the good that I can in every person and situation around me, and when I find it I want to hold on to it.

The Library

Finishing a book is more bitter than it is sweet. Especially when it’s a book that you only get to read once, a book that when picked up again is never the same. The feeling isn’t there, and there’s dust on the paintings. There are some books that can be revisited, though. And instead of finding dust, you find the paintings with more detail than before, brighter and more alive. These books are very rare, I only know of 3.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house growing up – where I was afforded a lot of free time. I’m a natural loner, so that time was spent in solitude. By 11 I had my own bike and I was a nearly permanent resident of the library at the end of the street.

There was a small teen section situated near the front. The only thing that said “Teen” about it were the red and yellow bean bags, and candy colored spines of young adult literature. But it was comfortable and usually empty, and it became something like my solitary summer clubhouse. The summer I turned 12 my grandfather took me to get my very own library card, meaning I could use the computers and take the books home with me. Before then I had simply read as far as I could and bookmarked it before placing it back in its place, hoping no one came along to check it out. Usually they didn’t, sometimes they did.

Books remained a huge part of my life from there on out. That library, over the course of 6 or better school vacations, heavily shaped the person I became. I experienced so many emotions for the first time inside those walls, with those books and the people that coursed around me unlocking them. I dreamed and imagined, learned and experienced loss. I discovered comic books and Isaac Asimov, I felt the sadness of Hemingway and the light of Ray Bradbury.

After coming back to Michigan I went to find the library vacant and alone, with plywood pressed against its windows and the book return slot taped shut, a poorly bandaged wound. It was closed after the construction of a new, gaudy multimillion dollar library a mile or so away. All good things must come to end, and some endings are particularly bitter – especially when you can never open the book again.