“I don’t want to just be” I understand this notion. When the message of our inherent worth from the time we were very little is based on what we do and not on who we are, when the time comes that our body or our mind or both no longer serve us well, we face despair.
How important is it to know that the first word about us is that we are made in the image of our Creator? When Moses said to our Creator if the Israelites ask What is his name? What do I tell them? God answered say, “I AM has sent me.” God’s name means “to be” and we are his image-bearers! We are human beings. It is the essence of our identity. Am I even allow to say that, while the topic of identity is froth with emotion and controversy? It seems so simple to say: the core of our identity is being.
Just over 5 years ago, my friend’s Mum died and I ended up having a discussion with one of the relatives. We were having a conversation about the circle of life. A little baby is looked upon as a joy even at 3 o’clock in the morning. The only immediate expectation we have is that he/she just be. We know that they are completely and utterly dependent on the adults around them. (We also know that the DCF is overflowing with children whose parents and caretakers are not taking up this responsibility. Let’s just stick with a healthy outlook for this blog post.) You hear people saying, “Gee gads look at that 2 month old all he does is eat, sleep, and poop.” They don’t see what is going on inside – the process of being and becoming. Older human beings – their love, their touch, and their care is vital, not only for these little loves to survive and thrive physically but to do so in their very personhood.
Fast forward 80 years to an elderly person who needs full-time care they can not be left alone. No longer able to fend for herself. One can find herself where she started from without recognizing it. This life nearing the end is as precious as the 8 week old. Being is difficult, if you don’t understand how valuable your life is. If you view yourself by what you do or have done. [Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of things that I want to do before I die and things I want to get done by the end of this day. I believe that being poured out and used up for the good of others is a good philosophy but that it must not be attached to my value as a person.] We all started out being carried around inside our mothers’ wombs. Lots of little people loved and valued before they even saw the light of day. Life is a gift. When we’ve lived it well and we find ourselves at the end may we find ourselves having practiced the Presence of God, like Brother Lawrence. It is my prayer that if I am unable to do that I will still be Praising the Father of Lights, and be praying for others.
Those of us that get to walk along side someone at the end of their life are granted the honor of loving, touching, and caring for them. It is just as important to finish well even if it means no longer being able to drive or to cook or do the laundry or the dishes, write books and build building, run companies and heal patients, the list is ad infinitum. Sometimes instead of “skidding in broadside in a cloud of smoke” it may look more like “an old soldier just fading away.”
Get lost in between the rain drops.
Don’t do something, stand there – right where you are.
Although if you are reading this it is a good chance that you are sitting, so sit there. Slow down enough to notice that you are breathing or perhaps you are holding your breath so now would be a good time to take a deep breath. Pay attention to your breathing even for 1 minute. Know that you were made for love – loving and being loved are the things that help us to be.