As I sat and thought about what I wanted to be remembered for, I realized that it was NOT the money I made, nor the houses I built or even this eulogy I had written. My life was encapsulated by those “few moments of time” spent with others in passing. I did not know their names; and at times, they did not know mine. Their moments of kindness gave me hope. Their compassion taught me that nothing was greater than the love of Spirit within each of us. And, their echoes of discernment taught me to celebrate and dance within those moments. Today, I would like to share with you not only a moment, but a segment in my life; through those moments I realized that I did not have to live with meritocracy, but rather stop living a mediocre life. This is a story and glimpse of my truth….
My mother Barbara was in her 30’s when she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and severe depression. She was living in a local Catholic woman’s shelter called, St. Rita. Every Saturday night St. Rita’s shelter hosted bingo night. I drove into the city that evening to try and see her.
I was greeted by a police officer. He softened a bit when he realized that I was there to visit the shelter, with no intention or interest in the bingo pot. I walked down a long dark hallway. There was this musty yet familiar smell to it; very old. At the end of the hallway there stood rows of beds – mostly portable cots. Old grocery bags were tied to the bottom of some of the bed frames. As I saw my mother, she glowed with joy to see me. Two other women joined her; Joan and Jane. I only knew their names because later in life my mother and they became friends and close companions.
As I stood with an uncomfortable feeling, many other women came over to meet me. These were women; segments of society that were looked down upon. They approached me. One by one. Wanting to meet me. Several of them would go back to their bed, untie their bags and give me a gift. I did not know them or their names. But, “I just knew them” if you know what I mean. One woman gave me a scented soap. At the time, I did not think anything of this. Later the next day, I realized that she gave me a prized possession. In her world, bathing wasn’t as accessible. Another woman gave me a box of tissues. Again, I did not understand the purpose of this gift. But, later I realized the significance of the box of tissues. I can only imagine the many that cried there in desperation, embarrassment and separation from their families.
Those were the moments that touched me. Those were the moments that made me realize that living a life of meritocracy, disrespected the opportunities I was given. They had nothing. Yet, they had everything. It was in those moments of kindness and compassion that gave me a life time of pause. I had recognized that we are more than just paintings in history – we are the brush strokes.
The reason I want this to be a part of my eulogy is because I want you to remember those moments. I want you to think about your life and how you can honor people that have impacted you. It was through those “few moments in time” that collided and shaped my perceptions of the world. I believe that if we allow, our connection with spirit is far greater than our fear of the world. I’ve lived with compassion, believed with conviction and worked with purpose. I lived my life and demonstrated the same kindness and compassion that others had given me. And, it is my hope to not be remembered for whom I was, but rather those “few moments of time” that shaped who I had become.
Living and then transitioning with continued purpose.
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