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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Be the Light

Small Acts

Many days I go down the rabbit hole, and can’t seem to find my way back out and then a friend will just reach out, or check in, or a loved on will give me a pep talk or take my hand and show me the way. And in that moment, I am reminded that I do not live on an island, but am part of a vast interconnectedness of life, love, struggle, pain, joy, sorrow and blessings vastly beyond my own understanding. And then I stand in gratitude and light before passing it on and paying it forward. #bethelight

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My friend is dying.  A gradually slow death where the life is seeping out of her.  She sleeps most of the time, has lost her hair, is rolled from side to side and can’t really speak.  After a battle of the wills against breast cancer that spread, I believe she is done.  Her husband hopes for a miracle and who can blame him?

It is interesting to watch a person go so slowly.  I don’t remember such a long decline when my mother passed.  After years of battling cancer (and all it’s complications), she finally let go of the battle of wills a month or so after I graduated high school.  But she was alert almost to the end.  This is different.  And hard to see.  She’s not suffering, just uncomfortable but it’s my own discomfort that I find intriguing- unable to ask her about her own, I, as a human, revert back to my own…

I want her to leave her body, I want her to die quickly, to “not” be suffering, to let the body go. To move on to whatever comes next.  But maybe she’s not ready.  Maybe she’s afraid.  Maybe the thought of leaving her six year old sons keeps her tethered to her body.  Maybe she too is hoping for a miracle.  Who knows?  There is no way to know, to understand, to make sense of it all.

What is the point after all?  This life we live, this body we inhabit, this soul we imbibe, this heart that beats, often for another, hopefully, for ourselves.  But where is the logic??  We are born and at some point we die, leaving everything we love and hold close behind.  Or sometimes, we are in so much pain that we take our own life, or that of another’s and then our own.  What does it mean?  We laugh, we live the day-to-day bullshit, sometimes we love intensely, sometimes we are loved back, sometimes we aren’t. We give birth, we marry, we divorce, we suffer, we watch those we love deeply suffer and then we die.  To go on to somewhere we don’t know about or understand, or if you view it differently, we just die and that’s it.  So what’s the point?  Why not just give up?

There was a time when I had a lot more faith, believed in purpose, fate, a ‘controlled’ destiny, you could say, with some amount of choice.  Then last year, my father died, suddenly.  And although he was old, it was unexpected and a bit shocking.  Assuming I could handle the loss, being an “expert” at it, I was totally sidelined by his death and my faith was shaken.  I found myself asking, what is the point?  Life? Love? Struggle? Money?  You live your life, the best you can and then you die.  Either suddenly or a slow death and you leave everything you love and hold dear (and fear and hate), behind.  So what’s the point in all the work?  The struggle?

May be we don’t leave it behind, may be it all comes with us, the pain, the loss, the love we feel for everyone in our lives.  May be we live our best lives so when we die, we can take the best of it with us and leave the worst at the door. May be, just may be…

So now I’m sitting here, drinking my scotch, listening to my latest favorite songs, observing the insane beauty of some hot pink variegated ranunculus and thinking that maybe this post is good enough to post and that my friend would tell me to just do it and get on with things.

Natural or man made, these ranunculus are gorgeous and smile inducing...

Natural or man made, these ranunculus are gorgeous and smile inducing…

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These have been dark days lately, so much loss, so much change.  It’s been hard to see the light through the trees, but I keep looking out, thinking, knowing, hoping that eventually, the darkness will give over to the light and I will feel whole again, ok again, me…again.

Today, that spot of light came in this follow-up on character studies of New Yorker’s that the NY TImes has been featuring to see how they fared through Hurricane Sandy:

Catherine Kendrick, 78, dock master and lifeguard-at-large for the City of Yonkers, evacuated her office on the city pier, where she has kept watch for 60 years, even after her lifeguard husband, Frank, died while rescuing a woman during a storm 10 years ago.

Ms. Kendrick’s health is shaky and over the past year, while sitting sentry at the pier, she had been crocheting a “going-away blanket” to cover her coffin when she dies. She rescued the blanket, which took on new meaning for her after she spent nearly 10 days with no power and sleeping on a lawn chair in her dank, dark apartment.

“The storm changed my mind,” she said on Wednesday. “I’m going to redo my apartment in pastel colors to match the blanket, and I’m going to use that blanket in life, not death.”

This 78-year old woman and her “going-away” blanket made me think that no matter how old or how sad or how devastated we may be, life is in the living, not the dying.  In focusing on the future or the past we forget to live in the present and that is usually all we have.

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