An Issue of Character
To give some context, Dr. Hildreth isn't talking about the sanctity of the job, but about refusing to concede. From the entry:
St. Francis of Assisi, while hoeing his garden one sunny afternoon, was asked what he would do if he were suddenly to learn that he would die before sunset that very day. He replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." This too was Mark's answer to the Spectre: "I shall keep living my life on my terms until I feel the grasp of your cold hand." He continued to drive himself to work. After arriving at the office he would rest for several minutes, gathering the strength to get out of his car and walk. Emaciated, with a faltering voice, he carried his load day after day, until he finally collapsed. Mark died two days after his last day at work.
I guess this goes back to the whole issue of being brave, but if I have only so much energy, I'm going to concede that. And I'm not going to waste it sitting in a parking lot. I might waste it on bad television. I might waste it on whining. I'd like to think that I'd clean out the linen closet and get my will in order. But I'm going to pick my battles and try to spend time driving Bob crazy rather than, say, teaching a fiction course at John Carroll University.
I have a different idea of a good death and it involves lots of pain medication and and time spent with friends and family. I know already that I'm not always rising to this occassion with good grace and great fortitude. I would like to, but sometimes I think it's okay if I don't. And it's okay if Bob doesn't, either. Most of the time he is, but the times that he isn't? Well, that just lets me off the hook for not being perfect.