I’ve been intentionally silent for the last month and a half.
My brother died unexpectedly in late June and my youngest sister had a medical emergency.
This happened while I was announcing my intention to retire from parish ministry within the Episcopal Church.
If ever there was a sign from God that I’d made the right decision for the time, these two events were pretty in-my-face.
Along with memories of playing with my brother, who was two years my senior, of being tormented by him, of re-connecting when we were both out of the house and living the single life of the early 70’s, the years of silence and recently, the stilted, uncomfortable conversations as we passed one another in the tunnel at the Powell BART station or out on Market Street, came the realization that I am also mortal. It comes on me in the early morning, just as dawn is breaking when I wake to see blue-gray walls and the many and sundry things in the room taking strange shapes. I’ve written about this time of day many times and will continue to do so. I wake and I think, thank you, Lord, I’m still on earth. Still above ground. The aches and pains I can deal with – that’s what aspirin is for – it’s the uncertainty of how many mornings I have left that scares me.
Life has its way of making me forget about death during the working hours. Then I am in the midst of life and out of the mist of doubt and fear. My work for others helps them in some way, whether it be editing and formatting a brief to the Court or listening to another’s joys and sorrows, or showing how something is done, or posting something snarky about whatever happened that day in the Presidential Election Campaign. There again is God showing me something of which I should be aware – that my time isn’t up and God’s not done with me yet. There is work to be done and I am needed in some way.
I’m not alone in coming to terms with my mortality. We all are born and die. Simplistic, but true. The first we had no control over, the second we can’t avoid but can prepare ourselves for and hopefully prevent by taking steps to live carefully – like not walking on the red light when two lanes of traffic are pouring down California Street, or stepping in front of a moving cable car to get that postcard-perfect shot of the city on a clear autumn morning. Paying attention to that lump or bump that wasn’t there yesterday morning. With the time I have left however many years, months, weeks, days, hours, they might be, I intend to live.
That means finding good and joy in every minute.
Taking time to relax.
To be present.
To enjoy the gifts and people given to me.
To give thanks for a relationship with God and creation.
To be Ellen.