Every time I think about back home
It’s cool and breezy
I wish that I could be there right now
Just passing time.
Everybody seems to wonder
What it’s like down here . . .
Everybody knows this is nowhere.
– Neil Young
I returned home on Saturday and I can’t tell you how nice it was. All the things they say about home are true – there’s no place like it, it’s where the heart is, etc. To wake up in the morning in your own bed, sip your first cup of coffee in your own living room, in your favorite chair while the birds sing cheerfully outside . . . it is a real delight. No doubt, a form of attachment, but who cares?
It took a killing rampage in Isla Vista, California to knock Donald Sterling off the news . . . temporarily at least. That in itself is a pretty sad commentary on our society. I feel sorry for racists and bigots. I hope they never need to have an organ transplanted. All I know about the person who donated the liver I received is that he was young and died in an auto accident. He could be black, brown, Jewish, Arab, Asian . . . What if I hated any, or all, of those groups? How would a racist feel if the only organ that could save his or her life must come from a person judged inferior because of skin color or religion? I don’t think such people see the corner they paint themselves into with their hate and anger.
Today, Memorial Day, we spend honoring the men and women who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces. I feel compelled to honor a different form of service today. During the week and a half I was in the hospital, I developed a tremendous respect to those who practice nursing. All the nurses, and the support staff, both men and women, on my floor were just incredible. Every moment of interaction was a moment of kindness and concern. Some of the things these folks had to help me with during the first few days post-surgery were not pleasant, and rather embarrassing. They did what needed to be done, and much more, and always tried to make me feel comfortable. To my mind they are the real Kuan Yins, the real bodhisattvas of this earth.
The day they let me go, I told my surgeon, “It may sound strange, but this has been a wonderful experience.” I was too emotional to describe what I meant. Immersed in a sea of compassion and healing was inspiring, and it was transformational. I still don’t have the words to communicate how I feel. I will soon. For now, suffice it to say that a new liver is not the only thing that has changed in me since I left home on May 12th.