Monday, September 29, 2014


It is a truism that no matter what is going on in our lives, “life goes on” – and that this can sometimes mean more than one thing is going on on our lives at once.  When losses meet, it can be overwhelming.  One may affect the other, and situations we might otherwise bear with dignity amplify other emotions, causing us to lose our footing.

In the past two weeks, someone I like enormously has announced plans to leave this state.  My priest has been called to work away from my church.  Two loved ones have had health setbacks, and one had surgery today; the other will have her own some time soon.  In the early hours this morning, a widely beloved person at my work died most unexpectedly.

And so, yesterday, I participated in the farewell of a woman of G-d I love very deeply indeed, which was sad enough, but it ended in the physical laying on of hands of all the congregation who were with us, in silence and in prayers offered by several, a physical matrix of human hands and love – something I have never experienced before (it was not the sort of expression the church I grew up in would have come up with).  The name of one of those I am concerned about arose in a hymn, and I lost all control.  And today I attended the impromptu memorial of a man who meant so much to so many that the CEO broke up and could not even speak at first – and, when he did, he ended our gathering by saying, “If you are having trouble today, go home.”

He happened to say this in the moment that I knew my loved one was literally in a doctor’s hands.  This person is hub of a kind of matrix, too – the hands that link together at this moment of crisis for them are hands I have held many times.

The past month or two have been a fertile time for events of great moment.  Writing, home, family, and friends – another of whom was dealt a professional blow which has ramifications across a web of relationships of it sown – great things have been afoot … and not all these great things have been good things.  My own health, my own security and peace, have remained inviolate – I am blessed beyond thanksgiving – and what I have to offer, as those around me endure and endure and endure, seems so little.

Surrounding this personal experience are the stories of secret taping of meetings at the Federal Reserve, the stabbings and beheading at a food distributor by a terminated employee, days of massive disruption of air travel because of a fire set by a suicidal employee in Chicago … war … bad economy …

I look at the strain even on those who DO have work right now, and am ever more grateful for my own.  That I work at a place which observes our humanity so overtly, so much as a community.  It’s not the first time I’ve been struck at how strongly the executives here respond to the distress of our people, and this makes me so grateful and so proud.

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