What a whirlwind! Nasta & Yulia have returned to Belarus after a whirlwind month of activity. These girls were very much like other girls I’ve known, but they possessed a truly remarkable courage. They were just little kids, of course, but they really impressed me in how they handled themselves. There was much more bustle in the house than I am accustomed to, while they were here. There was a constant chatter going on in Russian, which at first seemed out of place in the home – as if the house were a train station or airport, and not my sanctuary and refuge – but which quickly became just another background element of the domestic fabric. I miss it.
Being with and around the girls added an interesting contextual layer to my thinking about some issues that have rapidly come to the foreground of my thought these days; issues around technology & medicine, sickness & dying, etc. A number of public and private concerns have had me reflecting yet again on these matters, which seemingly have never been far from the surface since my own brush with death two years ago.
I think the train of thought got started just a day or two before welcoming these two young kids, whose lives are part of the sad legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, when I coincidentally picked up a small book that I had been uncertain how to classify in my library, and began to read it. It was by Pedro Arrupe, who at the time of writing it was the Superior General of the Jesuits. Roughly the first half of the book was a recollection of his experiences on the ground in Hiroshima in 1945, where he was stationed as a missionary when the first atomic bomb was dropped. Arrupe had studied medicine for five years before entering the seminary, and he had to call upon every thread of his experience in dealing with the crisis. It was a sobering read, to put it gently. My intellectual circumstances snowballed from there, and I soon had several thematically related posts sketched out in my mind, but have been so strapped for time that I’ve little more to show for it than a couple of drafts, and a bucket-full of good intentions.
I’ve had so little time to write that the idea of publishing a blog is beginning to look a bit silly, and I’ve been finding myself (again) tempted to use the blog for publishing blurts & blurbs, instead of somewhat longer pieces, though that’s really not what I launched the site to do – I wanted to use it as a vehicle for stretching out my thinking. I almost always find the idea of publishing blurts uncomfortable when I’m working on more substantial things, even though the majority of articles I at least mentally sketch out never see the light of day, eventually ending up in the dustbin of good intentions. In my saner moments, I continue to think I should be able to strike a better balance here. My preference would be to find more time to write!