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 Writer's Desk 

November 22, 2005
Vol. 3, No. 30



Patty McCarty On remaining risen

Patty McCarty,
NCR copyeditor

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I was expecting out-of-town visitors to stay at my house one weekend in October. This meant getting my house ready.

Serious housework for me means sorting through the stuff that piles up around my life. I find it especially hard to sift through and know what to do with the bits and pieces that help me remember what I was thinking and feeling in times past, ideas or insights that attracted me last month or five years ago.Taped to the inside of a closet door I found a sheet of tablet paper on which I had written these words: "There's a certain amount of discipline in staying risen. -- J. Putthoff"

That's from my friend, Joan, a counselor and former Benedictine nun.

"You don't go around hanging on your cross," she advised the world or anyone who happened upon my scrap of paper. "You go around radiating the risen Christ."

And Joan, bless her, lives that way.

In a pile of papers on a dining room chair I found a sheet of NCR notepaper on which I had written: "I think there's work to be done to the end, even when I'm unconscious. I don't want anyone to deprive me of that -- even if I am a burden."

Where did that come from? Did I copy it without noting the source? I don't usually do that. So maybe that's me talking. I like the idea. I just don't remember thinking it.

That idea was nowhere in my awareness a few weeks ago when I attended a session on advance directives for end-of-life health care that my daughter, Jeanne, arranged at the church she attends.

What was in my mind that day was the memory of a feeling I had some years ago when I was set to travel to Israel. I knew there was some danger, but I just wanted to go. I didn't want any worrying relative to try to stop me or slow me down.

I've often imagined that's how I'd feel if I were dying. I wouldn't want anyone to get in my way.

So I don't want machines to help me breathe or tubes to feed or hydrate me. Just let me do my work. If people want to help, they can pray I have the grace to remain risen.

Patty McCarty is NCR copyeditor. Her e-mail address is pmccarty@natcath.org.
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