An Interview With David Reynolds
The guilt that we ordinarily carry is trivial compared to what one feels when one uses Naikan. But, again, that guilt is always balanced by the sense of having been loved and taken care of in spite of one’s own imperfections, and that’s a wonderful gift. The result is a desire to repay the world. But in fact you can’t repay the world because it keeps giving too fast.
When Healing Is A Gamble
I’ve been a medical research subject for two years now. A human guinea pig. There never really was a choice. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an illness for which there is no cure or treatment, an illness so misunderstood and misnamed that it has been virtually ignored by most medical practitioners and researchers. Calling this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is like calling Parkinson’s disease Chronic Shaking Syndrome: the name addresses the symptom not the cause of the disease.
My job was to write computer training programs. But sometimes my mind wandered, and I turned to look out the window at the people in the parking lot, the cars on the street, and, especially from my sixth-floor cubicle, the birds that soared in the gulf of air between me and the ground.
How did this happen? How did my desire for a baby escalate during the past few years from a sweet little notion that fluttered through my mind now and then into a full-scale, unrelenting obsession? At what point did I lose all sense of proportion and patience?
He looked odd, hardly lovable. His head was elongated from the pounding it had taken against a cervix that did not fully dilate. He was covered with blood and amniotic fluid. When he took his first breath, he closed his eyes and screamed. The sound, the sight of him, and the profound terror of being a parent took my breath away.
I asked the post office clerk why she was smiling. She said she’d just gotten off the phone with a woman who insisted her mail wasn’t being delivered. I asked what was funny about that. The clerk rolled her eyes. She said the caller was upset because all she received were bills, never personal letters.
At thirty-one, I steadily decay. Breasts succumb to gravity and sag. My eyes weaken. My senses falter. Well-meaning friends have offered referrals for plastic surgeons, opticians, and psychoanalysts, hinting at the necessity to fight the breakdown of body, the breakup of mind.
Believe this. In the bed is a man. Frail, white, diaphanous skin shows through the purple of blood vessels that map his arm lying bare on the sheet. Jaws work soundlessly. He is thinking. The past slowly draws forward from far away and the present fades, becomes wispy and fades away, and this means he is dying.