expand empathy by gaining direct experience of other people’s lives, putting into practice the Native American proverb, “Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him.”
today was one of those days…
no, not a pulling-your-hair-out or i-want-to-scream kind of day…it was one of those days when you come face to face with the realities of life…
i attended a funeral.
i actually didn’t know this lovely lady very well but many people i have come to care about very much did.
i had the privelge to meet her a few times. my dad has always wanted to be what we Americans -or old school- call(ed) an undertaker. this lovely lady owned a funeral home. she graciously shared with me, one day, how the funeral process works in NZ and her passion for making the transition a family goes through in death as easy as possible. it was a fascinating conversation. it was also an inspiring conversation.
if you spend 5 minutes with someone who is passionate about their work or someone who is fulfilled by doing what they feel they are meant to do, you will understand what I mean about inspiring.
you kind of walk away wondering if you should give what they are doing a go because after all it must be the most amazing prospect in the world…that conversation with Rose made me wonder if i might just find giving “end of life services” a fulfilling occupation.
as death, loss and funerals do…it caused me to reflect.
i am aging.
my parents are aging.
i am saying good bye to many of the people i have shared life with in one way or another.
and it is not an easy part of this journey called life.
as amazing as new life is…death and loss are sobering.
a time to be born and a time to die…
i have always feared death.
it’s such an unknown.
it is so heart wrenching.
i have searched, as many do, to answer the unanswerable question…why?
sadly, i don’t have an answer to give. i often wish i had an adequate answer. i don’t.
there is nothing that makes our loss feel good or worthwhile.
however, love is an amazing healing force when we are faced with loss. today, i was a witness to many who extended their hearts in love to others who were suffering in a similar way to their own heart’s pain.
we all deal with loss differently.
some need to talk.
some need to serve.
some need to simply share what their heart is going through.
i find a common thread is that a grieving heart does not need to be “fixed”, it simply needs understanding as it walks this stage of the journey , in its own way.
-awaken us to new values and new and deeper appreciations.
-cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what’s really important and put it first.
-heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted.
the expansion created in my heart by grief helps me to be a greater vessel to bring love.
grief can assist us in opening our hearts to a greater state of love.
our hearts expand to feel more compassion for the suffering of others. it moves us outside of ourselves and causes us to reach toward the suffering of another person’s heart.
grief helps to create more space inside of us that allows life to flow through.
it focuses us on the reality of our immortality and how precious the moments we are given are…and how they must be celebrated.
today, in the midst of caring friends, i had no fear of death. i accepted, at our dear Friend’s bidding, to embrace the life i have been blessed to live…as fully as is within my ability…and when the “time” is come for me to walk from this life through the door of death into the wonders of heaven…that peace will gracefully guide me through.
i witnessed how amazing that process could be…from a precious lady who faced life and death with much conviction and passion in a most inspiring way.
celebrate life! yes, celebrate life!
“His love never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning…”
i was standing in line at the grocery store the other day daydreaming and in my own little world. the cashier and her customer were talking away. i noticed the cashier’s countenance drop. as i watched, i witnessed great sadness come over her.
i began to listen.
what i gathered was that her son had been involved in some trouble and the customer did not approve.
when i stepped to the counter, the cashier apologized and commented that having a mother’s heart, she found that conversation difficult. she explained that her son had done something really bad, was accepting his punishment and the customer that just left felt like her son didn’t look sorry enough.
she was crushed.
i encouraged her and left the store.
i couldn’t get this woman and her child out if my mind.
i don’t know about you, but i have needed mercy many times in my life; from God, my family, friends, and strangers. i desperately wish i didn’t make mistakes, make wrong choices, say the wrong things, or any of the countless things in my life that require that someone grant me mercy, but … I do.
i have needed to know that mercy would be offered to me. at times, i have been desperate for it.
mercy is so vital.
i needed milk last night, so i popped down to the shop.
as i turned the corner of the isle i was greeted by this woman. so, i stopped and asked how her son was. despair was still in her eyes.
i shared with her how mercy is renewed every morning and although consequences follow bad choices, it’s not necessary to walk around “looking sorry” (which is shame).
i watched the despair leave her eyes and her heart. she thanked me and she walked away visibly encouraged.
if you have ever experienced mercy, you can relate to what she was feeling.
it’s too easy to forget what a miracle mercy is. however, someone needs for you to remember and extend mercy their way.
or maybe you are in the midst of a situation right now and you need someone to extend mercy your way.
face the consequences.
but don’t tie yourself to shame.
mercy is new every morning.