Saturday, May 15, 2010

A nun I was not

There is a small snippet of the spiritual journey I have taken throughout my life that the family enjoy recounting from time to time.

It recalls the phase I went through as a young child, when I suddenly took to spending several minutes every night genuflecting in front of the Sacred Heart picture above the fireplace in the living room.

The story goes that I would commence my solemn mini-novena while the 9 o clock news was on the telly, blessing myself constantly and gazing towards Jebus with pleading eyes. The routine was so vigorous in its exercise of grace and piety that my mother was sure she was raising a little nun.

Not so. I remember all this very well and it coincides with the time when I discovered that people got sick and they died. I was most disturbed by the fact that it appeared you could just be snuffed out in your sleep and so bedtime became a point of serious distress.

For this reason I made it my business to square things with God every night before I turned in, in an effort to make sure he didn't take me. I would like to say I prayed for my family too, but nah, it was all about saving myself back then. As a seven-year-old, I was quite self-involved.

But that was a simpler time when you believed what you were told to believe and while admittedly I had more faith in James Bond Jr and Captain Planet at the time, I took it at face value that God existed and He was on my side.

I'm not going to get into the layers of my belief at this point - and there are many layers, which clash and come into conflict, now moreso than ever. Sometimes I believe in something greater, most of the time I don't.

What I do know however is that transplant patients may well be the human beings that God forgot to create until the last minute on the seventh day. There He was, kickin back, watching the clouds go by and He thought "Fuck, I forgot that other crowd of losers".

And just like sunday night homework, He rushed it and left us with organs that weren't quite up to the task of getting us through a whole lifetime.

Maybe He didn't bank on modern medicine finding a way to keep us ticking over with transplant surgery - or maybe He did foresee that and thought He'd like to see how things would turn out when mere mortals tried to play at His own game.

Taking an organ from one of His children and placing it in another? He was curious to observe such messing about, and curious too to see how the human-being with its weakness for experiencing guilt and with its great capacity to empathise with complete strangers would handle knowing that one person had died so that they could live.

Sadistic bastard.


  1. I was made on a Friday at about 5pm. Serious rush job.

  2. Holy smoke! At first I though 'Regina is really on a ramble her, is she going anywhere with this?
    I should have known better, soon a crescendo was building, to be finished ...with a punch!

    Nice work :-)

  3. Never doubt the girl's ability to thwack on a punchy ending. Brevity is quick.

  4. Holemaster - We were born faulty, with no manufacturer's guarantee. It sucks.

    Brian - It was rambling for a while there, I agree. But I got to where I was going in the end!

    Radge - Is 'thwack' a word? If it isn't, it should be.

  5. Nope, it's all mine. I want the dictionary people to sit up and take note. Oh, and I just realised this is my third response to you in three minutes over various platforms. I get all stalkery after I wake up from a snooze.

  6. Great post, Regina! A small quibble - while I can completely empathise with your last paragraph, I feel I can't just let the statement "... knowing that one person had died so that they could live" go like that. Should I die tomorrow (and they find my donor card in my wallet and decide that my 50-year-old organs are of some use to someone else) then I haven't died so that someone else can live - I've simply given them something I don't need anymore. No sweat!

  7. Radge - I think it would be delightful if in that space marked 'occupation' on boring forms, you could scribble down 'lexicographer'

    Francis - I know what you're saying, but that idea of someone else's death marking the start of my second chance at living is something I've really struggled with. It's an odd situation to be in.
    And don't underestimate the value of your 50-year-old organs. There are many who would be delighted to have them - but of course I hope that never arises and that you live to be a very ripe old age!

  8. OK, I was the 1,000th hit on your blog and despite a promise of a ticket to the zoo, I received nada.

    Now, I'm the 2,000 hit also (and no, I haven't been clicking obsessively). Seriously, I do deserve a prize. A pack of the original 3p Refreshers or else a strawberry ginormous Mr Freeze will suffice.

    Fair play though, the blog really seems to have taken off. Keep up the good work.

  9. Milo Shaper - Apologies. If I'm being honest, my offer of a trip to the zoo was hasty. I need to first find out if they have those little scooter things for people of your...mobility difficulties.
    Perhaps I can think of a more appropriate prize for you.
    Thank you for your kind words on the blog. I think it's the design that has made it so popular.