When one reaches a point in life, perhaps it can happen at any age, moments of World-sorrow … Weltschmerz … can repeatedly obtrude into one’s consciousness. It happened to me several times today while engaged in otherwise pleasant conversations with friends. My old age has finally caught up with me and I had a poor medical assessment of my seemingly perfect health and I am now scheduled for a bone scan in two weeks. I still feel fine, but, but, but … who knows?
Anyway, I mentioned my concerns to one of my older buddies, and he launched off into a two-hour disquisition on the many life-threatening medical problems that had beset his otherwise healthy-looking body. He said it helped him to have friends he could talk to about these things and he didn’t have much opportunity to do so. He talked about his problems and I about mine. We both seemed to enjoy the morbid-comic aspect of the whole thing. I have lived a long life of nearly perfect good health and probably didn’t acknowledge other people’s suffering and problems enough. Thus what I have often thought of as abstract comedy about the vagaries of life was probably received by others as callous sarcasm at their suffering. I don’t remember anything specific so I can’t seek out these people and try to make some meaningful restitution, but I will be more careful about my humor.
The religious qualities of suffering do not appeal to me, and there is no reason to feel alienated from the divine qualities of our world or of our self just because of disease of the body. The miracle of the world is that we exist at all and that the world has provided us modern people with so many opportunities for participation in events, experience of so many kinds of environments, pleasure at being able to know so many different kinds of people, and media readily available to supply endless stories of things impossible to experience personally.
Life goes on. … At least for a little while longer.