GUEST AUTHOR: Dr. John A Blaschke – 96 year old, semi-retired physician
“WWII Naval Aviator where I learned discipline of self and the discipline of a greater cause. Graduate of Univ. Oklahoma College of Medicine 1950 made possible by GI Bill. No nation ever rewarded its military veterans as the USA did after the war. Most of Medical career as a Rheumatologist at McBride Orthopedic and Arthritis Clinic for 42 years. Clinical Professor of Medicine (now Emeritus).
My crippled patients taught me much about life, spiritual values and faith. Most importantly a wonderful wife who was perfectly happy in poverty or comfort and who brought emotional stability and joy to our marriage of 74 years.
‘Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.’
Peggy Noonan. The Time of Our Lives”
On a journey one tries to learn about the area being traveled. We read guidebooks, take tours, listen to lectures and talk with the locals. In this process we try to make sense of place and our fellow men, who with us, fill this planet which God created for us.
A journal is an attempt to make sense of self. The process of a journal is a written account that is part journal, part confession, and a desire to leave a legacy of one’s secret inner self. It is in this hidden part of our minds and personality where one prays, seeks God, and asks forgiveness. We all have this secret inner self where the Holy Spirit whispers to us in moments of pain, indecision, temptation, and joy. A journal reflects some of these whisperings.
This journal is a partial record of my life and the paths I’ve followed. In it I’ve tried to make sense of the many paradoxes and conflicting notions that traveled between my external professional, paternal, and patriotic self, and my inner secret, sacred and saved self.
As I continue life’s journey in the ninth decade it is increasingly clear to me that, in maturity, the spiritual part of the journey becomes more precious, more fulfilling, and more compelling to include in a journal. This thinking has led me to the realization that what I have been writing isn’t a journal at all. Rather it is an unstructured record of my life. The events and stories are set down not in order of occurrence but as they come to the surface of my memory circuits at various times that I have been writing.
Realizing that memories are stored as chemical compounds in various cerebral neurons after the visual, auditory or other sensory perceptions have been processed by the hippocampus and amygdala areas of our minds, surely one can accept the reality that random circumstances can ignite and bring to sentience certain memorable events in one’s life.
Then I have to face the truth of what has been called, The Seven Sins of Memory:
- Transient—-Events moved too rapidly for accurate recording
- Absent-mindedness—-Too much conflicting stimuli
- Blocking—- Freud was right about this. Painful memories can be suppressed
- Misattributions—Mixed up memories cloud details
- Suggestibility—- Childhood psychological effects
- Bias—-Your beliefs dictate memories and choices
- Persistence— The bad dream.
Recently I began reading the “Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume I” When I came to a comment he made in 1906 when he began working on his autobiography, I began to wonder. To his editor he wrote, “An autobiography is the truest of all books; for while it inevitably consists mainly of extinctions of the truth, shirkings of the truth, partial revealments of the truth, with hardly an instance of plain straight truth, the remorseless truth is there, between the lines.”
And so my dear children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and others to follow this is my “journal.”