Life is often mysterious, with no rhyme or reason. Some people come into the world and lead what to all appearances is a charmed life. Storybook. The stuff of fairy tales. Others are destined to live in quiet misery. Or not so quiet. They’re challenged from the get-go — or certainly not that long after– and that’s what their lives become: all about meeting the challenge.
The rest of us? Well, it’s a mixed bag for us. Some good stuff, some stuff we think is bad. Other stuff that really IS bad.
With age comes the knowledge that anything can happen. We no longer wear the armor of invincible youth, that time of life when we can’t even fathom that anything bad or challenging lies ahead. But as we get older, we understand the fragility of all that is before us. As we age we notice for the first time that the world around us is populated with humans facing challenges of every kind. Their callings are more advanced than ours, I’ve come to see, and one reason we are here is to learn.
There is no greater privilege than walking by the side of someone who is fighting a mighty battle. It is a learning experience.Oh, I know, some of you are aghast at the thought that other people’s issues might actually be a lesson for us, too. But why else are they there, right in front of us, if not to provide a teaching moment or two or three? They’re not just random events, you know.
No. They are purposeful.
It doesn’t mean they’re fair. But there is a reason and the Divine in all its perfection knows what it is doing.
I sat waiting in front of that counter in the early morning not too long ago, the first person to arrive in a very quiet room which would soon be full of people undergoing cancer treatment. I was there to be a support, to lend an ear, a hand, a heart.
We are all human, you know. It’s hard to stay upright in the face of challenges and sometimes we need a little propping up.
This tree in my back yard is a constant reminder that the wind can be so strong it buffets us about. It can loosen our roots and nearly unmoor us. But with a little support, our roots can grow strong again and eventually we can stand upright without help.
Cancer treatment is brutal. Time can drag as chemicals are infused into the body or as radiation kills errant cells. In the morning quiet I looked at the huge clock and saw its irony.
Time becomes oh-so-precious when faced with a life-threatening illness. Life becomes all about time. How much, how much more, how little. They say we’re made of atoms and molecules and cells, but I see that we are made of minutes, seconds, hours, days, months and years. If we’re lucky, decades and even a century. A century is now possible.
But in the throes of a treatment room we are concerned with those micro-increments of time, as in “when will this be over?”
In the waiting room this puppy puzzle sat on a table, half-completed. I wondered who had done it. Was it one patient? Several? Or loved ones waiting as the minutes ticked by? Puppies–what sweeter focus could there be? A sweet touch. Sweeter than chocolate even.
The nurses and doctors began to arrive; angels in white ready to care and to soothe in the best way they know. It is their calling. I believe in the power of angels to guide and protect and am awed by the power vested in those angels in white.
I am even more awed by the power of the choirs of heavenly angels standing all around us, propping us up as we live out our destiny.
Mother/Father God, may those angels be close to us always and may they show themselves to us for comfort in times of need. Amen.