It snowed up until about noon today. 2 more inches on top of yesterday's 7 or 8. The mailman actually came today. He drove a Ford S10 with 4wheel and big tires with big cleats. The snow plows had piled the snow along the side of the road in front of the mail box. He drove over it with no problem like a monster truck. My car is buried. The fallen snow plus that pitched by the plow trucks means I have some more snow digging in my future. The freezing rain after the snow made a crust on it. Makes walking a labor. You have to punch the crust with each step or you stand on it and it breaks under your full weight and you crash. It's difficult to keep from falling just standing in it. It was above my ankles. By the side of the road I went in up to my knee.
I may go out tomorrow if the weather is fit and do a bit of shoveling. Won't do much. A little at a time. I'm not in a hurry. I dread it. In the morning when I wake and see all the snow, first thing I think is Whitehead misses Jr Maxwell on a day like today. He took his tractor and blade to driveways all over Whitehead, worked all day at clearing driveways. Wouldn't accept a dime. A wave and on to the next house. He never made anything of it or told of it, just did it. I've thought all day of the time Ross gave Jr a great lecture on karma when he asked why everybody is helping him out in his infirm time. Ross reminded him of his activities over the years helping out people, fixing things and not charging for it, helping people out any way they needed help he could handle.
He said, "Now's payback time." Jr got it, but he didn't seem to be convinced he'd done enough to warrant what he's received, like he got more out of the deal than he put in. He had a hard time getting his mind off his belief that everyone he knew saw a fool when they saw him. It wasn't easy to break through that belief to see himself in such a light that anything good would be coming his way. Sometimes he judged himself like a hawk-eyed preacher fine tuned to sin. He lived his life outside church aware that's the only way he can live in relation to church. He believed, but he couldn't participate in the dreary old samo samo. I'm not sure, but it seemed like there was a part of him that wasn't certain God was not a hellfire and damnation preacher watching for sin like a referee. He was a bit apprehensive of that kind of a God. If that's how it turned out God is, he didn't have a chance.
I did my best over time to tune into the God of love. He knew the scripture about God is love, like everybody. Everybody knows it, but not too many regard God as such. God the punisher. God is watching you. You can't hide. Jr and I talked of our own ways of seeing things without judging each other, and I did my best to get across to him the God I know, who is love and love only. God doesn't care that Jr outran a cop one night. God doesn't care that he drank white liquor illegally, doesn't care that he had an adventure here and there, doesn't care that he didn't go to church. God is not that small minded. My God cares about one's advancement on the spiritual path. I believe Jr contracted a lifetime of suffering this time, for suffering is the fast lane.
I believe Jr was quite an advanced soul veiled. I couldn't talk to him about such subjects out there in abstraction where his mind never dwelled. And I'm glad. It taught me to pay closer attention to thinking without abstraction, pay closer attention to now, accepting circumstances as God given; therefore, go with them and see where they take me. I was never good at guiding myself through confusion. With help from above, I just have to get out of the way and let it happen. I don't think it mattered a whole lot what Jr believed about God as to where his spirit went. If God is love, as scripture attests, then he's not watching for sin to punish. We punish ourselves so severely, God surely is distressed that we're so hard on ourselves.
Our friend Jean had a son on death row in Florida. She visited him when she could. Her love for him never dimmed. I never talked at length with him on this subject, because he wasn't comfortable going off into the unknown, like strapping on a hang glider and jumping off a cliff the first time. He wasn't so sure that's what he wanted to do. He knew neither one of us knew anything about the subject of God, talk all we want. I knew it too. I didn't know how he saw God. It wasn't my business and it's not something that can be explained. But I have a pretty good idea how God saw Jr, not all of it by any means, but I believe God saw/sees in Jr a man
of real integrity whose life benefits everyone around him, a remarkable soul, and one with enough spice of naughtiness to give him some zip. What God loves about Jr Maxwell is that he is a true human being, the full spectrum, true to the core and forgiving as a dog.
In the last days when I knew he was soon on his way I didn't feel any urgency to call for God's attention. I knew he had God's full attention. When the spirit left the body, I felt no need to pray that he go up instead of down. I prayed anyway, because I felt that was the only real way to experience this moment. I wanted a long ritual of singing and finger cymbals like the Tibetans do with incense, chanting prayer. It didn't seem necessary, but at the same time it did seem necessary. I wanted to sit in reverence with him all morning, but got restless. The ambulance backing to the door again. On the mechanical stretcher again, corpse carried out of the house and to the mortician's table. It felt so absent of regard for who it was. It didn't matter who it was. It's a corpse. I wondered if I'd left time for the spirit to fully be released from the body of its own. There's no way I can know. I didn't know what to do. My friend wasn't breathing. I was happy for him. Ecstatic for him. Sad for myself.