Death Comes

These days I am working as a spiritual companion to the residents of a nursing home in England. I accompany these elders in their day-to-day lives simply by being with them. Some of them are sick, many of them are dying. If they are able to speak we have a conversation. If they are not, we don’t. I hold their hands and feet. I read them books and newspapers. I tell stories and listen to theirs. I pray with them if they ask me or I pray in silence if there is nothing else to be done. It is an enormous privilege to share in and bear witness to a life in these quiet ways.

One of the residents died yesterday. I’ll call her Trinity. I had grown close to Trinity in the last three months since I began working in the home. She was an artist and we shared our love of visual art through conversations about painting and drawing. “My aim in life is to paint,” she told me when I asked her if she missed it. She was seriously ill and had lost the ability to use her hands in any real way and her mind was clouded by the drugs and by her poor condition.

Trinity told me that from her illness she had “learned about laughter, suffering and endurance.” I was speechless. It is not often that we hear people expressing this kind of unspoken gratitude for being sick and dying.

Yesterday, after one of the nurses told me Trinity had died, I went to her room to just sit for a while in the empty space and remember her and say good-bye. When I opened the door I saw that Trinity was still in the bed. I was shocked. I’d assumed the body had already been removed by the undertakers.

I have seen dead bodies before. It is the strangest sensation. The body is intact and yet the person is gone. At first Trinity seemed to be there still. It almost looked as though she was breathing. But then it was obvious: Trinity was no longer there. Where did she go? We do not know. The Great Mystery.

Now Trinity’s suffering has ended. And yet so has her life. A whole life that I know very little about. I only know that at the end of her life she had learned about laughter, suffering and endurance.

We did laugh together, Trinity and I. I did watch her suffer. And I did witness her enduring, day after day after day. There is meaning in this.

I am reminded of a piece of scripture that I have always liked. It helps me to remember that I am not the be-all and end-all of everything: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

Make the most of it.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Am I aware of the sensation of being alive today? I will do my best to bring myself into full awareness of my Being.



I’m Gonna Let It Shine

Dearest Readers,

I am in a dressing room backstage at BC Place Stadium listening to the muffled sounds of the Stereophonics rehearsing their set on the main stage. When I was standing on the giant deck, staring up at a screen the size of an apartment building, surrounded by technicians and performers and Olympic logos, there was only one question on my mind.

How did I get here?

The simple answer: I walked through my fear.

Emotions are running high. There have been a few tears shed because a gig like this is a lot for the nervous system to endure. But there is no doubt that we are all excited, grateful and more than a little stoked.

Yes, I walked through my fear to get here but I also had a lot of help, both from people and from On High. I believe there is a purpose to our lives and that we must devote our energy to its discovery. Mine is to shine the light I’ve been given in the most exquisite and truthful way.

What’s yours?

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will discover my Life’s Purpose and I will commit to its fulfilment, one day at a time, to the very best of my ability.