Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A trying day...

I knew that when I picked this profession that death, dying, and funerals were part of the gig and this week we have two memorial services. I unfourtantly didn't get to  know the man we celebrated today in his prime but his service was a moving expereince and emotionally exhausting.

I think more than anything it caused me to stop and reflect on my own life and the many relationships I have. As I sat listening to a daughter give a eulogy about her dad I was grateful that I've been doing the work of forgiveness with my own. It was also a reminder of the relationships that I still need to work on and fix. I don't ever want to sit in a place of regret because I was too stubborn or foolish to find forgiveness. I don't ever want to sit and wonder if someone knew how much they meant to me, and I don't ever want to sit and wonder "what if" or "if only"...

As I listened to people talk about his life and legacy I reflected on my own life and how I want to be remembered, and it was a reminder of all the ways I can do better. More than anything it made me want to run home and hug my babies and spend time with Marcus. Life is so fleeting and finding purpose and meaning within those fleeting moments is what we are all called to do.

One of my favorite quotes is from the book The Chosen by Chaim Potok (if you haven't read this book you should). In this particular passage a father (who is also a Rabbi), is having a conversation with his son about death and the meaning of life.
So listen to what I am going to tell you. He paused for a moment, as if considering his next words carefully, then continued. “Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less that the time it takes to blink any eye, if we measure out lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than a blink of an eye?” He paused again, his eyes misty now, then went on. “I learned a long time ago Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable through its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here. Do you understand what I am saying?” (217).

I too want to be worthy of rest when I'm no longer here. The man we celebrated today he was truly worth of rest and as the Parkinson's and Dementia slowly took control of his body and mind he in many ways is freer now than he's been in years.

It was just so emotionally draining. I'm going to have a conversation with some of my more experienced colleagues about whether this part of the job gets easier. I can't imagine it will...

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To top it off I had to tutor and teach my adult education class tonight. I'm spent.

I think a sign that I'm tired is that the notion of sedation to remove my wisdom teeth sounds like a lovely break.

1 comment:

~Jess said...

Sounds like an emotionally and mentally exhausting day!