Part II of Sun Jelly Pastures
The way Homer seen it, rules was "designed by people who didn't trust their own hearts." Instead of bringin' about order, he declared that "rules create fear, distrust, and more rules, and people who live by the rules are only trading the chaos of uncertainty for the entropy of expectation and disappointment, thinking they're getting a better deal. They don't like surprises. That's why they keep schedules and agendas, to ward off the unpredictable." Some a his ideers flown smack over peoples' heads, but alott've 'em made sense. He'd get to talkin' and soundin' real poetic, but he warn't uppity or nothin', he just got folks to thinkin' on things they ain't never thunk about afore. Like the notion he had that people get drunk offa control, same as moonshine. They's under its spell all right, but control don't loosen 'em up like hard liquor, no indeedy, it puts their minds ta sleep to where's they cain't think fer theirselves, and pert soon, they ain't whatcha call a individual no more. It's sorta like when a hard-headed caterpillar winds hisself up in one a them cocoons, only he don't never turn into a butterfly. He's in there all right, justa fightin' with Mama Nature, stubborn as all get out 'cause he wants to be the one callin' the shots. What he really is is scared; his fear a change done got the besta him. He done missed his chance, an' all he's got to show for his orneriness is a never-been butterfly and a has-been caterpillar. Just goes ta show, there ain't no need fer playin' it safe when ya trust in the way things are.
That's why uptight types is so miserable; they ain't never satisfied with what they got, 'cause they done throwed the baby out with the bathwater. Homer was sure a lotta folks's problems in life was rooted in fear. The way he put it, "fear of the unknown is a consummate grifter. It leaves a person short-changed, afraid of oneself, which ironically is the greatest unknown of all." Homer was one big mystery, most've all to hisself. Ya know how a dog gets all excited when 'is people come home from work, actin' like it's the first time he'd ever seen 'em? Well, for Homer, ever' moment of the day was brand spankin' new...maybe that's why he was never bored. Life's plumb fulla surprises, and so's ever' last one've us. Homer reckoned no one could really know theirselves, other'n how a baby knows it's hungry or cold or wet or feels its mama'n'daddys love, 'cause each've us is a work in progress. Alls we can be sure of is what our bodies're tryin' to tell us, and then try'n listen to them gut feelins' down deep inside. The rest is hearsay n'hogwarsh. Ain't none've us the same person we was even a minute ago.
Even though Homer come acrosst as some sorta mystic philosopher, he really wasn't much've a thinker. "Thinking puts a damper on experience," he'd say. When a person's all caught up in hisself, he ain't gonna notice mucha nothin' else. A tree ain't just its roots and bark and branches, it's the sunshine that's streamin' twixt its leaves and the wind that comes a-rustlin' through 'em. There's more ta that tree than meets the eye. It's got sap runnin' ever' which way up and down its trunk, roots lookin' for a drink, branches branchin', and leaves turnin' sunlight, air, n'water into vittles. It don't hafta think about none a that; it's just being what it already is. People ain't no differ'nt, really. We grow ourselves same as that tree, ain't no one else doin' it for us. 'Cept somewhere's along the line, we got the ideer we ought not take credit for doin' what comes natural, that we's just s'posed ta set back and watch it all happenin' from over yonder. Sorta takes the wind outta yer sails, don't it? If we ain't the ones responsible for walkin' our legs and speakin' our voice, then who is?
Pastor Bob summed Homer up as such: "He's an enigma, a curiosity, and a threat." Fer sure, he was one a them free spirits that wasn't real concerned with what people thunk a him, a travellin' man who never met a stranger, and called ever' place 'is home. That was the Injun side a him--he done growed up on a reservation in New Mexico, the son of a medicine woman. He learnt the old ways first, then he went off ta Harvard. Got hisself a MD and a PhD in ethnobotany, then come back to the reservation ta become a full-fledged healer, just like 'is mama.
Traditions like healin' don't get taught in medical school. Regular doctors ain't too concerned with keepin' folks well. They got a pill or a fix fer darn near any ailment, an' don't none of it involve a person helpin' hisself. Problem is, they think've people as parts that ain't workin' right, parts that ain't necessarily connected to each other or nothin' else. There's a whole lot more to Bubba than just his bad heart. Injun healers get that. To them, health is harmony 'tween the physical body and what's surroundin' it, and disease is whatever's disturbin' the peace. The big differ'nce 'tween doctors and healers is their attitude toward patients. A set of symptoms with a few pills chucked at it cain't help itseff no how, but a person whose body is tellin' its own story most surely can.
Homer believed in helpin' people help theirselves. There warn't a person alive that was beyond help, neither, whether help come as recovery or deliverance. He was a cancer doc afore he gone inta palliative care, so he seen his share a death. Most've us ain't walkin' around ponderin' our deaths, even though we all know we's gonna die some day. Folks that're terminal ill ain't got that luxury; the hand a Death's done reached out to grab 'em. Homer knew he warn't gonna save ever'one that come ta him, but he didn't think dyin' meant a person had to suffer. Like the law, sufferin' don't serve no real purpose in life, lest it's overcome. The differ'nce 'tween a good death and a bad one's as simple as dyin' in the comfort a home amongst loved ones or dyin' sterile and alone in the ICU, hooked up to a buncha tubes and machines. A good death is knowin' when to let life take its course.
Dear Lord, please let Homer deliver Momma E, even though she done chased 'im off our property. She didn't know she was et up with cancer.
Yours in Christ's Bountiful Mercy,
Part I, Sun Jelly Pastures
Part III, Jesus-Hair Grass
Part IV, Happily May They All Return
Part V (Conclusion): The Most Terrible Sad Rainbows of Love Left Behind