Lately I have had to think about difficulty. Is there a certain logic that governs it? What are the manageable parts of its unwieldy sum? Is there a way to transform it into something facile, the way some solid matter, under the right condition, will transmute into liquid or gas? Is there a method that will unhinge it from its self, can we turn it against its nature? After all we have a knack sometimes for making things more difficult than they are. I am hoping its reversal might also be true.
Lately people I love, my once-immortal parents for instance, have been getting sick, and I am again thrust into the task of raising the money for all hospital expenses. It is a shame to admit that faced with disease or even death, money is the first thing I think about. That year when my father was in a coma, I realized that raising the hospital money was a task to which the eldest child was elected. The bills arrived promptly and the numbers grew exponentially. These notices, which my mother passed on to me unread, stated that failure to settle the amount would prohibit the hospital from providing patients with costlier but critical services or medicine. Half the time my mother spent praying at my father’s bedside, half she spent at the chapel. She believed that her faith would save him; I feared he would die the moment I failed to make a payment.
Those days I could not get myself out of bed, as if the moment I step out of the sheets, the day—my father in it—would grind to its finish. I would stay in bed and wait an hour or two for the pall to lift. Because this happened several times, I learned to wait.
Ask me what I consider the most difficult period in my life and I will tell you it is that. All my life I rejected the notion that money was the great enabler. How did it come to a point when my father’s life depended on it?
Now I find myself again in the thick and heavy of the same difficulty and I want to escape it. Desperate and without money, the only thing I can resort to is analysis. I turn the questions over and over; this errand feels like a fool’s enterprise. One can’t simply think one’s self out of a real predicament. You need to get out of bed to leave the house to earn the money to solve the problem. In cases such as these, isn’t it action that is necessary?
But what if through inquiry a way to defeat or undo the difficult will reveal itself? What if through grammatical inquiry we can alter this dark matter and transform it into a thing that radiates?
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