In his superb memoir, Barack Obama tells of a meeting with Mitch McConnell in the White House in which Obama’s team tried to explain why a particular piece of legislation would benefit the entire country. McConnell interrupted their presentation saying, You seem to be under the mistaken belief that I care.
This statement from the Kentucky Senator was startling in its candor and revealed the essence of the man. He simply doesn’t care. Of course, he does care, selectively. He cares about his corporate sponsors, the NRA, the Koch Bros. et al.
That word, Care, keeps popping up in my head. Caregiver, Caretaker, Medicare, Eldercare, Urgentcare, Childcare and Careless which was, I imagine what Mitch may have felt when a few words of truth slipped his mouth.
The Greek word, Caritas, appears in the Bible (God is love) as a form of love or charity. I like to think of it as cherishing. Care-giving is an extension of love. It adds a new dimension to the loving relationship. To care is to be present, to extend oneself and anticipate what may be needed a minute from now. It’s a matter of being resonant. There is an element of transcendence even in grunt work as the giver receives from what is given.
Aging together is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s no rehearsal and we only get to it once. We are likely to be at our neediest and most attuned. When word came that Peggy was to be released from the hospital I Windexed the glass which she spends much time in front of. She is now back observing that piece of world through the window. Her poetry shows that all the universe is contained in any part of it.
Our apartment house is gift-wrapped on three sides with hundreds of daisy-like fuchsia flowers. With the calligraphy of our bare-branched coral tree now bursting with red lanterns and yellow berries answering them it is like a symphony of colors which Peggy orchestrates. Somebody cared in the planting.
Our salad days may be gone, replaced by these tranquil halcyon days. Just another phase in the journey when the limitations and bodily insults can be shared. Those shouts of joy become moments of enduring in unison, a new dimension in intimacy.
I wonder if Mitch will learn to care when it’s his turn. If it will ever dawn on him that he’s a mere foot soldier for obstruction, suppression and greed, easily replaced by other lackeys. Maybe then he will find his heart and write a memoir telling all. But who really cares?