On this All Saint’s Sunday, I am remembering so many people in my own life who are saints to me: my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, father-in-law, nephew, dear friends, and the list goes on. Were they perfect individuals? Certainly not. Were they extremely special in my own life? Absolutely. Collectively and individually they helped embody Christian values that continue to shape my own world. They left a legacy on my life. And they are sorely missed. Hopefully some day we will all be together again. Melody
These past few weeks I’ve been visiting cathedrals, and other interesting sites, in Spain and Portugal. The cathedrals, most especially, combine the Moorish and Spanish influences in such unique and historical ways. Now that I am back in the United States, I am hoping and praying even more fervently that all people and cultures of our world can come together and live in peaceful, loving ways. God expects that of us. In particular, on this Labor Day weekend in our young country, I am praying that our work will have true meaning and value, and that all workers in our world will be treated fairly and with respect and dignity.
Giving up on these hopes and expectations is simply not an option. Melody
Recently I read an article in the Boston Globe entitled Doctors want to talk about end-of-life care, but often don’t know how, survey finds. Below is a link to the article in case you are interested. This article reaffirms the ongoing need to continue to educate, and talk with, our healthcare professionals about tough situations like end-of-life care and our desires and wishes.
Awhile back I read the following writing by Rachel M. Srubas from Oblation: Meditations on St. Benedict’s Rule. Since it spoke to me, I thought I’d pass it along. Melody
I know you’re there
ever receptive to my prayer.
Not you but I am the busy one
with the crowded calendar,
inclined to fit you in mainly when
I have a cancellation, as though
your mercy were a last priority,
a rare luxury.
My preoccupied hours and days
go by, and I relegate you to a corner of my mind
until I feel free to grant you full attention.
But I have no fullness to offer.
I give you a hollow stare and feel I’ve become
a passing acquaintance of my Creator.
I speak a few stiff sentences,
then lapse into embarrassed silence.
There — if I dare to linger in the discomfort —
dwells the potential for the prayer I need,
an honest encounter between my hectic heart
and your uncomplicated patience.
I face you for the thousandth time and find
I’m a beginner,
a sinner not in some spectacular act of evil,
but in a collection of petty forgettings
that summon my repentance
in remembrance of you.
Gradually, a miracle flows into me, a stilling
and filling of my anxious, empty self.
Now calmed, now capable of reverence,
I pour my awareness into you,
only to receive much more than I give:
the prayer I pray, the very life I live.
Recently I heard about the following writing, called The Anyway Poem, credited largely in part to Mother Theresa. It spoke to me, and I thought I would pass it along.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa
Recently a dear friend told me about a memorial in one of the most beautiful and special places in the world, Christchurch, New Zealand, called 185 Empty Chairs. Hearing about this memorial was new for me. The memorial artfully, vividly and poignantly remembers and honors the 185 people who died in the February 2011 earthquake. The memorial is literally 185 chairs painted white, each unique to each victim. Hearing about this special place spoke to me for so many reasons. Perhaps you would want to see the Facebook posting for the memorial which I had not seen before.
And the following poem said so much. May we always, always remember those who go before us, and who hopefully we will see again.
When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.
Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
In this New Year, here is a wish: that people individually, and our society as a whole, will move closer to sensible and smooth decision making about end-of-life care issues. Along those lines, here are a few informational links to articles that might be helpful.
Happy New Year,