Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
Lent, George Herbert
It’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s forti’eth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Saviour’s purity;
Yet we are bid, ‘Be holy ev’n as he,’
In both let’s do our best.
Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn and take me by the hand, and more:
May strengthen my decays.
Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast,
As may our faults control:
That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.
"Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art,
It requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation,
as any painter´s or sculptor´s work; for what is the having to
do with dead canvas or dead marble,
compared with having to do with the living body,
the temple of God´s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts:
I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”
There is indubitable admiration for someone who can take the “dead canvas or dead marble” and bring motion to it; who makes something still resemble the living, and consequently, brings the living to gaze upon its body. The artist interacts with his work, bringing perspective, emotion, and direction to its spine. The work is an extension of him, and he accepts his role then, as caregiver.
As Florence hints, the body of a nurse’s work is that of the living and, like all artists, nurses are meticulous, ever bracing for the canvas’s cries, and acting for the sake of that beauty. Its spirit is real, it is felt, it is summoned, it is interpreted, charged, fed, and it is treated. It is an end.
In this week’s segment of Crissy-Swoons-Over-Marc-Barnes, Marc quotes Paul Simon and Crissy starts crying in her living room.
She comes back to tell me she’s gone.
As if I didn’t know that,
as if I didn’t know my own bed.
As if I never noticed
the way she brushed her hair from her forehead.
Marvel, how the minute movement of hand to hair contains multitudes, indeed, how it can contain the whole fate of the day, the year, or the entire relationship. We get it wrong as often as right. We gaze in hope of glimpses, and find that just when we think we know, that we are familiar, some new revelation will come, some word or action, and we are plunged back into wonderful and painful awareness that the person is not a thing known, but a mystery revealed in revelations that never annul the mystery.
… Far from the stars, we make gods of them. Near — their divinity flickers. There are few mythologies of thermonuclear reaction. I know of no helium deities. To maintain the mystery of the stars is to maintain our real, human relation to them. In this stretching, aching distance we find ourselves closer to the pinpricks in the ether-sphere than in any number of collected details. Distance is nearness.
But how much sooner than the stars we should make gods of people, fantastic people, with souls and interior lives light-years away from our powers of observation! If we could grant a little distance, acknowledge the hidden in a world of constant display, the subjective in an objectified age — how much closer we would come to the truth. People are not known through observation. People are known through love, which races to find the unfindable interior, to encounter the entire person, the person we can never fully know, but can only glimpse.