Monday, October 27, 2008

The Business End of an Injury

While dealing with the aftermath of my injury - you know, the surgery and recovery part - I've also had to deal with the business aspect of all of this, mainly working with the workers' compensation insurance company, my employer, and all of the places where I've either been seen, treated, or followed up with so far who are sending the bills to me. In all honesty, I would rather have had to deal with both of my Achilles tendons than have to do all of the stuff that's come this way as well. It's a real nuisance, and on top of all that, it's my employer's policy that the injured employee is responsible for covering the costs of his/her employee benefits as well.

I've actually thought about that - the premiums I pay that come out of my paycheck for health, dental, disability, and life insurance are all pre-tax contributions. And while you would think that having to cover them out-of-pocket in a situation like this would make them after-tax contributions, they really wouldn't be because the monies I receive as a result of my injury are 60% of my pay. Further, because of the way labor laws are written, this is not taxable. So, I guess I should be grateful that I don't pay taxes on what effectively is disability income. And, because this is the way it is, I guess it pre-empts my ability to rant about paying for my benefits.

I am still dealing with an inherent inability to sleep. Last night was probably the worst night I've had yet; I was up and down from midnight until about 7:30 this morning, and it didn't feel like I got much sleep, although I suppose I must have because I feel reasonably okay. I am looking forward to tomorrow as I have an appointment with the surgeon to have the stitches removed and, hopefully, to lose this cast on my leg. I strongly suspect the cast is responsible for much of my discomfort, and I'm hopeful that by removing it I'll be a little more comfortable. I'll still be restricted, even with the AirCast boot back on my leg, but at least the support will be better. And I expect I will be able to start putting the mechanics back into practice soon as well.

I watched a movie last night that I have been wanting to see. The name of the film is "Into Great Silence" - it is a documentary about life inside La Grande Chartreuse, the motherhouse of the Carthusian monastic order. The Carthusians are undoubtedly the most austere and ascetic of the monastic orders within the Catholic Church, more so than even the Strict Cistercians, commonly known as Trappists, who are well-known for their austerity and their own silence. The differences are somewhat pronounced, though; Carthusians live as "hermits within community" where they spend the majority of their time in solitude. They also follow the rule of their founder, St. Bruno of Cologne, which is found in documents known as the Statutes. Trappist monks, on the other hand, follow the Rule of St. Benedict, which was written by Benedict of Nursia during the early 6th Century.

As I already mentioned, Trappists are a branch of the Cistercian order, known for following the "Strict Observance" of the Rule of St. Benedict. Cistercians and the "original" (for lack of a better word) Benedictine communities have a common foundation, where the Trappists were actually founded through reform. And while this all sounds a little complicated, the history of both of these orders is actually quite fascinating, as are their spirituality which comes from the rule that each order is founded on.

There are a number of things about this movie that make it notable and, in my opinion, worth watching. First, there is no soundtrack, no music other than when the monks are in church, and very little speech. In a Carthusian monastery (their communities are also called "Charterhouses") while there is no absolute vow of silence, the rule of the order is that if speech is not necessary for a task to be performed, then don't speak. Live in your own silence, because in your silence you converse with your God. That is their custom, their rule. Second, one would think that because the monks spend most of their time in solitude that they would be bored or unable to cope with that. I didn't see any of that at all - in fact, it seemed that they were busy all the time, and in their business was a structure that made it so they were either with the others in the community or they were in church. But they were never idle. And everything they did - everything - had its basis in prayer.

I didn't think it would be possible to watch a movie with little dialogue and no "action" per se. But I did, and it was incredible and fascinating all at once. It was also a good dose of "spiritual food" if that is what one needs. The best part is that it isn't necessary to figure out what's going on during the scenes of the movie. If more information is needed, the resources are out there - just look. But with respect to the film, it was good to just sit, and watch life unfold for these monks, day to day.

From this, I have found a book that I am interested in reading: An Infinity of Little Hours, by Nancy Klein Maguire. It is the story of 5 men who entered the Charterhouse at Parkminster, England, during the 1960's and how it affected their lives and their spirituality. If it is as good as the reviewers say it is, then it should be definitely worth reading.

Watching this film really put the whole concept of being on a spiritual journey back to a place on my own radar screen where I should pay attention to it again. I had sort of pushed it away because day-to-day life and the pressures that go along with it. I guess I have no excuse to not go back there now.

No comments: