Weekly reflections for those who tend to the dying
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
A Temple and a Wailing Wall
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My ten week old can smile and that’s about it. She can’t walk, or dance or sing. She has yet to eat solid food or mow the lawn. She hasn’t worked a day in her life so of course, no pay checks. She can only smile, but what’s a smile anyway? When you consider the universe, the vast empty space of it all, punctuated only here and there by the light of stars, a few mounds of matter, when you think about how even in those small pockets of something instead of nothing, even there life has only been seen on this planet, and most of that life is unmoving and unthinking outside of pure instinct; a smile may be more than it would first appear. When you consider it in the grand scheme of it all, a smile, a sign of happiness, an outward representation of an inward state given for its own sake, is truly a rare and remarkable thing. While compared to an active adult, my child’s abilities in the world are greatly limited. When held up next to all else that exists, her simple smile becomes nothing short of astounding. Our patients also are often limited. What abilities they had, what powers were at their disposal, ripped away by illness and time. Who they were: diminished, what they could do: stolen, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value, that doesn’t mean they aren’t remarkable. From the mumbled prayer of the comatose to the song of the demented, even taking that last breath, that last filling of the lungs with the spirit is an act of such rare beauty as to be almost unheard of in this universe. May we honor all life for what it is: the home for the divine, and pay homage to every death as a Wailing Wall, the remnant, the echo of where the Holy had dwelt within the profane.