Monday, March 23, 2015

Moments and Monuments

Two men sat together as they often do, chatting. One had a lost a loved one but time had passed. Raw wounds had become jagged scars, searing pain had become a dull longing ache, an ache the man now knew would never leave him. This bereaved friend turned to the other, “I want to thank you,” he said. “For what?” his friend replied. “On the day she died, when I called you said: ‘I’ll be right there.’ It wasn’t so much that you came that mattered, it was words. At a time of complete confusion, you gave me something to count on.” The friend looked up, tears building in the rim of his eyes. “How do you remember what I said?” he asked. “Everything from that day is painted on my heart,” the bereaved replied. For the most part, human memory is a series of fading impressions and lingering senses. A nebulous cloud of information we draw on to pull the scattered past back together. Most memory is fraught with discrepancies and mistakes, more a haphazardly put together reproduction of hazy events than picture of true history. That is, except for those most painful parts of our lives. True trauma and tragedy is often marked by a perfect recall of the event, such that sentences spoken in haste can be recalled word for word years later. Talk to someone about the last breaths of their mother, spouse, child, not a second of that time will have slipped their mind, not an instant disappeared back into the ether. Though these captured instants happen at times of great strain and difficulty, they are often accented by words and deeds of astounding beauty and heroic care. These memories are etched forever on the walls of time. These moments become monuments; canvases stained forever with the pigments of pain, comfort, and of release, preserved for the ages. As we walk in these timeless lands, may we always be guided by love instead of fear, with bravery and with mercy. And in so doing, those instants will hang forever on the walls of the minds of those we have served, framed by pain and loss, but masterpieces of love and compassion nonetheless.

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