Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Curtain: Solzhenitsyn's Prose Poem of Mindful Living

This morning I am writing a grant, which is about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian Nobel Laureate in literature and Soviet dissident. He happened to live in my town for 18 of the 20 years he was exiled from Russia.

I am continually amazed how his work, to say nothing of his life, is a demonstration of mindful living. I read one of his "miniatures" or prose poems last night and thought it might be an interesting quick post for Healing Whole. Not only did Solzhenitsyn survive cancer, but he lived for many years with heart disease before he died from it at 89.

The Curtain

Heart disease can serve as an image of life itself-darkness shrouds its future course, we never know just when our end will come: Is that it lurking at our door, or might it still be a long way off?
            When a tumor swells ominously within you, at least you can face the implacable truth and work out how long there is to go. But heart disease plays cunning tricks: At times you seem quite healthy-so you’re not doomed after all! Why, it’s as if you’d never been ill!
            Blissful ignorance. What a merciful gift!
            But in its acute phase heart disease is like being on death row. Each evening you sit and wait-is that the sound of footsteps? Are they coming for me? But then, each morning-what relief! And what a blessing! God has granted me a whole new day. One can live and do so very much in the space of but a single day.   

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