Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Ha, so speaking of things that I don't stick to doing! I know, I've been far far away for a long long time. But I haven't just been sleeping, if that counts for anything. I've been thinking...just not sharing.

It started the weekend that my new niece came into the world. I don't remember ever having felt that sense of wonder in my adult life. Few things came close in my childhood or adolescence either, come to think of it. The idea that Nicole offered an entire person as a contribution to the world continues to blow my mind. But the following week I got the news that the brother of an old friend had passed away - the very same day. The same day that one family and circle of friends was experiencing unparalleled joy, another family and circle of friends began to feel the profundity of loss. Was it one soul making room for another? I don't know how to explain these things. Chad, who passed away, was close to my age, and he passed away as a result of a number of medical complications that came from having become partially paralized in an accident years ago. His brother Marc was telling me about the funeral service, which was attended by hundreds of people. From everything I've heard, Chad had an incredible lust for life before the accident, which left him in a state of depression that he never really recovered from. I met him after his accident, and I remember him as a charasmatic and gentle soul, but Marc has told me over the years that something was missing after the accident and it never really returned. I wonder what it was that Chad came to understand at the moment of his passing. I know that he (possibly unknowingly) taught all the people around him about living, which is a beautiful gift. But why him? I think he probably had that thought a lot in his quiet moments...why him?

Sometimes I am amazed at the depth of suffering that the human spirit can endure. I can't imagine what it was like for Chad's parents to bury their son, for his brother and sister to say goodbye to him and know that their lives would never, ever be the same. I guess life really is a series of waves - waves of joy, sadness, wonder, loss, love, fear, beauty.........big, undulating waves that bring us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It reminds me of that scene at the end of the movie "Parenthood," where the grandma says something about roller coasters...she's making a life analogy, but Steve Martin is not in the mood and he makes some sarcastic comment, to which his wife (Mary Steenberger) answers, "I happen to like the roller coaster." It's like Joni Mitchell's song "The Circle Game": "And the seasons, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down, we're captive on the carousel of time..." It's like Khalil Gibran wrote in "The Prophet": "When you weep, know that you are weeping for that which has been your delight." It is only in the greatest of joys that we can know the worst of sorrows. Arrivals and Departures. Round and round and up and down.

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