Friday, June 3, 2011
Christopher Hitchens was on a recent 60 Minutes episode and it was fascinating to hear this man who is deeply flawed, but so eloquent and, could one call him arrogant? talk about his fight against vocal chord cancer which has metastasized. He’s a man who has loved his voice in both speaking and writing and he’s used it, or sometimes misused it very effectively. I heard, but can’t confirm that he called Mother Theresa that ugly little dwarf from Belgium. Really? He’s said plenty of nasty things about others and against Christianity, but he does it with such eloquence you have to admire him and laugh, even while you disagree.
I’ve wondered whether the experience of so much loss and suffering at this end of his life will soften or change him. What could be better than this crusty soul coming to Christ? I pray he does.
In a recent article that appeared in Vanity Fair he begins it with an excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold
My coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
He concludes with a truth that seems as Christian as it is human – that we are meant to live and die in the company of friends – that our relationships to one another in some sort of community increases wisdom and eases the loneliness, especially when we are suffering a fatal illness.
“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends. I can’t eat or drink for pleasure anymore, so when they offer to come it’s only for the blessed chance to talk. Some of these comrades can easily fill a hall with paying customers avid to hear them: they are talkers with whom it’s a privilege just to keep up. Now at least I can do the listening for free.”