Garrison Keillor writes about his stroke for the first and last time. Among other interesting observations:
But the truth is, I don’t think about death at all, because I thought about it all the time when I was young. I wore it out.
I was raised fundamentalist and from early childhood sat under hellfire preaching in which the prospect of imminent death was a main selling point. Preachers stood and perspired freely and told about the Titanic, the ship Morro Castle, the wreck of the Old 97 and its unbelieving engineer who was scalded to death by the steam, the unbelievers who left the revival meeting in scorn and moments later were ushered into Eternity by the North Coast Limited. At every funeral, a man in a dark suit stood by the corpse and cried out, “What if your life were required of you this very day? Where would you go?”
I sat and trembled. And said a silent prayer, asking Jesus to save my shriveled soul, and the very next day went back to reading fiction, joking around, singing pop songs, flirting with girls—all my worldly ways.
Conviction, Confession, Relapse, over and over and over, like a man jumping off the shed with the big wings strapped to his arms that he’s sure will make him soar over the trees, and kersplat…down he goes one more time. But he picks himself up and straightens the wings and trudges home, and that evening decides the problem was the spacing of the feathers.
The next morning he jumps off the roof again.
Eventually you tire of this experiment, and then you go to the big city and see a 747 land at the airport. Wowser. You can throw away your feathered wings and simply buy a ticket. That happened to me. It’s called divine grace.