Monday, November 2, 2009

Gratitude - Day 2

"A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body,
or rather it is as if my body has been meant
and made for the act of kneeling.
Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude,
kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge,
head deeply bowed, hands before my face."
Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life

Today I am grateful for having known a kind and gentle young man who passed away suddenly last week. He was 24 years old, with a lot of life ahead of him. I didn't know him all that well but often shopped at the family pharmacy where he worked. The last time I saw him he flashed his welcoming smile at me and I felt blessed. I didn't know at the time it would be the last time I spoke to him.
I went to his memorial service today. I pray I don't have to do that again any time soon. There is no way to describe how his parents looked other than broken. Not just their hearts, which I am sure must be in ten thousand pieces, but their spirits were crushed. I've only seen that kind of grief before once before in my life. That was at my son-in-law's memorial.
Although it happens every day in every city in the world, I don't think parents were made to withstand losing a child. They will live on, no doubt. But a spark of light is extinguished that no amount of mourning will replace.
I'm am selfishly grateful that I have never had to stand at the grave of my child and weep.
Chris's parents wrote a letter to be read at today's service. In it they listed several quotes their precious one had listed in the "About Me" section of his Facebook page. I couldn't write fast enough to get them all. This one I've heard before. I'm grateful for the reminder:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, And self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish, having ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway. *
These are mighty words collected by a young man who had been teased and bullied in his lifetime. In spite of the taunting he had no place in his extra large heart for meanness. Instead he carried a smile on his face for everyone he met. He will be missed.
In memory of Christopher Carl Stiles I ask you to find the time today to tell the children in your lives how much you love them. Thank them for many rich blessings they bring you each and every day. Even if they are making you want to pull your hair out, stop and hold them close. There is no way of knowing when they will be called Home. If you don't have any kids, hug the neighbor's kids!
There is a Jewish saying that goes something along the lines of a joy share is doubled; a sorrow shared is halved.
May your life be rich in joy and free from grief.
Merry ME

*Some sources say that these words were written on the wall in Mother Teresa's own room. Their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do, the spirit in which they lived their lives. They seem to be based on a composition originally by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way.

1 comment:

Fire Byrd said...

Ok, so two posts and tears twice.
I'm bringing the tissues to tomorrows gratitude!
And I will tell my naughty Alex I love him, as I always do.But thanks for the reminder.