“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
― John Hughes, Not A Book
That quote is pretty true. It’s a given that for some, life will move faster and end earlier than others. You never know when the bus is coming, or whether you’re going to be the one behind, or under the wheel. What we do know is life keeps changing. That little fact is really the only thing that doesn’t change. It’s that dynamic that affords us opportunities- Opportunities to help, to create, to understand, to be grateful…to….to…..to…
I’ve been given an opportunity that is unfortunately becoming less unique with each passing day. It’s an opportunity that I sometimes squander in the face of my sense of personal privacy. I’ve written about having a chronic illness and I will again leave it at that, other than to say it regularly puts me in IV rooms for long hours with people receiving chemotherapy or other toxic treatments. I often meet these people, get to know them , call them friends after months, sometimes years of Scrabble and family stories, while we each enjoy an eight to twelve hour shot-in-the-arm-cocktail. I’ve had the privilege and the hardship of becoming part of their lives – their often too short lives. While I wouldn’t trade a single person I’ve met, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either. Walking into the room and seeing a familiar face for another week or month is often a relief.
This winter was particularly tough. There have been a lot of losses. Maybe it was the long bouts of cold and darkness, maybe it was just time. I don’t know. Two years ago today is also the day a list showed up in my email box. On it was news of people who have gone missing over the previous three years in Tibet. Two unknowns fitting the description of my partner and his brother were on the list. This morning I took some time to visit the stupa of my partner (and very best friend) and to honor those I have known and lost. The past few years have been difficult, but in taking such an inventory of lives, it also forces me to look at those whom I’ve grown closer to over that same time. People who help me move on, despite the losses. People whom I would also like to honor and thank in writing, because there is no stupa for the living.
If you doubt you belong on that latter list, you’re probably wrong.