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Vigil

At 4:23 in the morning, it’s ok to give up. I’ve been lying in this lovely, very tidily comfortable hotel bed waiting for sleep to find my thrumming body. Despite the plump pillows and the cozy sheets, I have simply passed the night listening to the hum of the heating unit punctuated by the ebb and flow of the traffic on the street below. My inadvertent vigil has not made for an altogether unpleasant trance. Even so, it has not been sleep either.

My mind just could not let go. In about an hour and a half, we check my 15-year-old daughter in to the hospital where they will work a couple of catheters up to her heart via her femoral artery and vein from incisions that they will make into the front of the top of her leg in order to close off a blood vessel that has not been needed since before she was born and now is diverting oxygenated blood flow from circulation to her body back into her lungs.

She is not in any immediate danger from this minor defect, and the odds are that her procedure will go quite smoothly. Even so, I have not slept. Kanjizai has had plenty of opportunity to observe my self at rest this night and get to know her. Jack Duffy Roshi once wrote, a few years ago in a piece titled “The Undying Mare” that “today is a good day because I am jagged.” I wrestled and wrestled with that line. The best I can make of it is that to be alive to it all, to hear the cries of the world and meet them in compassionate intimacy, is what makes it good, albeit, at times less than comfortable. Tonight is a good night because I am jagged.

My five o’clock alarm has now gone off. It is time to get dressed and head to the hospital.

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