Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Mystery

Or should I say - "Living in the Mystery"

This morning I stood by a man's bedside and prayed as he passed away.
There is such a mystery there - passed to where? What happened after that moment when the breathing definitively stopped.

He passed. Over.

I have been with several families - and with my own mother - in that moment and it is always strange. Because there is uncertainty - is he or she gone? Yes. And then the "Now what?"

After the hugs and the tears and the platitudes and the prayers there are the details to be considered. About calling hospice and funeral home and notifying people.

And then there are the details about travel arrangements and calling hours and the service and the cemetary.

But eventually there is the Now what - about how to live into life on earth without this person present. Because everything has changed and you are just now starting to learn that.

Which reminds me of the other mystery - not the end of life but the beginning. One of the most special blessings of my life was that I was able to be in the delivery room with Marnie when both Reagan and Addie were born.

Birth has a lot of the same dynamics as death. There is the waiting, there is the wonder of that moment of seeing a baby take its first breath and there are now what questions?

There are details about birth certificates and bottles and diapers.
There are the notifications about the arrival of this miracle and the visits from friends and family.

But eventually there is the NOW What - of how we are going to live our lives with this new person present. Because everything has changed and we are just now starting to learn that.

And so the mystery of life - is really the mystery of living through the inevitable changes of arrivals and departures. The mystery of who you become when you are a mother or a widow. Because people in our lives change us when they come into our lives and when they leave.

And so today I pray for Ruth whose life changed radically this morning. I know that she is surrounded by the love of family today, but that she will have some hard times ahead adjusting to her new life.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 46 - because it speaks of these times:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress

My prayers are with her today.

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