I was sitting vigil with someone for a brief period the other day, which is always such a privilege – the last hours of a person’s life journey are so private, it is an honor to be part of them in whatever way I’m needed – and as I sat there I was struck again with the speed of the passage of time. This dear stranger had photos all over her nightstand portraying the various precious people in her life, and as I listened to her breathing I thought about the uniqueness, the sacredness, of her irreplaceable life. I thought about the love she must have known, and the people her life must have touched. I thought about her own joys and sorrows – those she shared with others, and those that she must have secreted away in heart… like we all do. Our lives are such precious gifts… and the moments just fly by.
Our lives begin so small. Every life starts out as a tiny spark – a union of precious, one-of-a-kind DNA – never seen before, and never to be repeated again throughout the history of the human species. And as we grow, we shape and are shaped by the many lives around us. For good or ill, our lives leave their imprint on each other – no matter how insignificant we may seem – or how short they may be… The length of time we live, whether long or short, still qualifies as a lifetime – because it is a lifetime… Some of us circle this sun many, many times – and we touch many other lives before our time here is over. Others know only the warmth of a womb, and leave behind only pieces of DNA, where they remain within their mother’s lifeblood for the rest of her life. All of my miscarriages have been very early, just long enough to let me know a new life was there – but I take comfort in knowing that pieces of each little one’s distinct DNA remain within me… They are forever a part of me – not just in my heart, but physically within my veins. The biology behind life paints a beautiful picture – philosophically and metaphysically. There is a very real unity between a mother and her child – no matter how long she’s been a mother.
I was talking with the hospice patient I volunteer with this past week, and mentioned how busy life was, how I was looking forward to things slowing down at some point. She assured me, “They don’t – that’s what life is – you just keep going.” That’s wisdom from a woman who has circled our sun 95 times… When you have the privilege of hearing the words of the wise, it is a good idea to listen. :) The moments of our lives are here and gone, and it’s the relationships – the love we share – that carries on from one moment to the next. It’s the reality of love that lasts – from conception throughout eternity. When we love and are loved the weight of time has meaning. When we are in the last hours of our lives – when our journey here is ending – it is love that we need… it is kindness, compassion – the presence of a gentle touch and a caring heart.
There’s a reason why small things done with great love can change lives…
(For anyone who wants to see more artwork like the one at the top of this post, Nellie’s website is www.PaintedFaith.Net.)