This week another passage.
Before dawn, I rise from my morning meditation in Singapore, pull on my pants and head into the predawn day. This week’s passage is not trivial, though it is just an overnight passage. It’s a passage across 13,000 kilometers, though it is one as effortless as reading. It’s a passage across the biggest ocean, and across most of a continent, though I will barely be called upon to so much as keep track of where we are until we arrive. It’s a passage half way around the planet in less than 24 hours, and I will barely lift a finger.
This morning I awake in my parent’s home. The furnace rumbling, the house still as the slow December dawn draws up night’s curtain on another day in the magical kingdom. Outside the window in the basement guest room the sky is pink in cold looking clouds. The stillness of the pond could easily be mistaken for ice. I sit this morning looking over the frosted backyard grass wondering why I was so weepy last night, not a quality I often experience in myself.
Am I weepy because I fear losing my parents? My Dad and Mom and I are feeling particularly vulnerable after Dad’s midnight ambulance ride to the hospital last week. Subsequent tests yesterday found nothing untoward, even confirmed his quadruple bypasses of three years all clear to be all clear. I do fear the approaching days when I will lose my parents, but that is not why I am weepy.
Am I weepy because I fear losing my friends? At the other end of this country, on Vancouver Island, friends struggle through the festive season with a course of radiation and chemo therapy to treat a recently discovered brain tumour. Mid way across the country, in Winnipeg, a family member battles lung cancer, with the same treatment. Home in Singapore, still another friend grapples with cancer, cancer of the liver. And so on. It seems this month, unhappily, too many of those whom I value are under threat. Am I weepy because I fear for my friends? No, I am weepy because, in the warmth of my parents’ home, I am to let down my guard and allow my feelings of overwhelm to rise, my feelings of sadness because I have been too far away from too many whom I love for too long.
This morning I remember that to be in the presence of those we love, is to be back in the presence of life. And to have death threatening at the back door makes sure I pay attention. To remember that we are never out of life or death’s reach, or love, it’s just that we are able to forget for a while when we fill up our lives with the stuff of striving. True, to live we must scratch together what we need in the scramble, but it is too easy to mistake the stuff we seek with what is important – connection, friendship, family – the many faces of love and life. Threat of death, is like a slap to the side of the head. Wake Up! Pay attention! Be in love! And I know Irena, on the other side of the planet, is receiving the same reminders as I.