It has been a little bit since my words have found their way to this page, and so much has happened in that time.
I spent the better half of last week with my Grandfather who was in the hospital and although it was bittersweet to see him there there were also so many gifts that I came away with from his time there:
It is always a scary thing to see someone you love in the hospital. And as I was driving up to visit him I was rehearsing the speech I would give to the nurses about how important grandpa is to all of us and how special he is… but as soon as I got there I realized there was no need because they were already aware of just how special he was, and they were so incredibly kind and provided the best care they could. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes as the nurses and doctors would come in and treat him with such care and respect:
At the hospital we were able to see people come and go, in various states of health and dis-ease… and it was such a reminder that this body that I live in is something to give thanks for. I can run, I can walk, I can move without pain… and what would happen instead of trying to change it and focus on it’s flaws… what if instead I loved it for what it is already doing. What if I truly appreciated the fact that my heart is beating strongly, my lungs take in and out oxygen and my blood flows to the places it is needed without any input from me… it was such a reminder to live with such gratitude for my health and my body.
I can’t fix the health problems he has, I can’t reverse the hands of time… but I can do something important- which is to be there in the midst of transition, I can offer my presence, my love, my gratitude for all that he has given me and shown me. I think all too often we dismiss the power of our presence, we underestimate the power of our love and compassion. We have ample opportunity to share the love and concern we have for one another, but too often we allow fear and doubt to get in the way. We don’t believe that our little effort can possibly make a difference, but your words, your presence, your kindness can make all the difference.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa
So send the card saying that you are thinking of someone, call the person that you know is struggling and offer a few moments of your time to listen and to be present. If you don’t know what to say you can start by saying “I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know how to make it better, but I do want you to know I can listen.”
Today is the anniversary of my cousin’s death as well… a man who died far too young and as I surround his family in love and prayers I have been thinking about what he would want me to do on this day. I believe he would want me to seek out those I love to remind them that I love them, that he would want me to remember how important we are to one another, to remind each other how important words of comfort and compassion are. I believe he would tell me to offer a hug to those who need one, and to live my life fully and deeply.
In thinking about death and dying I have been reminded that we all have choices about how we truly live, and it has caused me to pause to appreciate the gifts in my own life, the friends and family that are such gifts to me, the love that we share, and how important it is to take a moment to appreciate and delight in one another.
So pass on words of love, share your joys and struggles and continue to be present for one another in the midst of life and love, growth and loss, pain and pleasure and everything in-between.