Things you learn in bed

Ángel Marroquín

Many things in life are learned in bed. One of them is Hope.

A sick person in a hospital bed has a lot of time to think and review the old movie of their life. They have time to repent, be proud, happy or sad with their modest accomplishments and personal frustrations. But as the illness progresses and the blood pressure and heart rate worryingly fluctuate, little by little, the mind tilts towards hoping. Then, the sick person will want to improve and stop feeling the inclement pain of the disease pressing strong. Finally, they will want to return home or escape from that disturbing place called Hospital, which seems like a cold and sad prelude to something much worse.

Hospital and Hope appear united. However, their unity is as unconvincing as the plea of innocence of those convicted guilty or the last-minute regrets of those drowning after a shipwreck in the cold, salty ocean in the middle of the night.

Those who are ill and hope to recover have no hope really. Their urgent desire for the cure of pain has instrumentalised the aspiration of recovery. Nobody can judge them because nobody is in their place tonight in that lonely, cold bed near the window. Even so, they are playing their last chance: they want with all their heart to improve, and they cling to the only thing that is left: a genuine, immaterial and delicate desire—their personal, poor and fragile Hope.

Probably our protagonist will die anyway, their family will mourn for a while, and then they will divide what they left and forget. Someone, perhaps, will leave flowers on their grave from time to time on their birthday. That’s the way that the world goes.

But the mystery of Hope will continue to illuminate the way for other patients at the Hospital that we call Life, and that mystery will continue to be invoked there.

What have we learned, this time, in this bed?

That true Hope is useless, fragile and gratuitous. And that is its usefulness. That it is not directed towards anything in particular and cannot be directed towards our own ends, that is neither sold nor bought, that it does not possess and cannot be possessed.

At the end of the day, each of us will have a chance to try to answer this question in our way in our own bed.

(c) Photo: Cover Album A momentary lapse of reason, Pink Floyd, 1987

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