If you have ever read or heard the famous poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, you understand the importance of a life well lived. Having the awesome responsibility of attempting to relate someone else’s “dash” in the form of a eulogy can be hard and taxing work; when it is the life of your parents or sibling, it is emotionally draining also. I’ve had that responsibility for two of my brothers just in the past 10 weeks. Even though we laid my last brother to rest about three weeks ago, I am just now starting to put the experience into perspective. I hope to not have to do that ever again – not soon anyway.
Writing someone else’s eulogy is not only an exercise in tracking down the important details of their lives, it is also important to relate how they made those around them satisfied with their own lives. It is the lessons that others learned from them and the joyful moments they shared that their loved ones will remember. Those memories of security and happiness are what end up really being their “dash”.
The one lesson I’ve from writing 7 (maybe more) eulogies in my life is to be very cognizant of how I am living my dash. How about you?
Weather on the Prairie is a funny thing. Cold & snow in October, foggy New Year. One thing about the weather though, it can always surprise and bring joy. Of course, joy is fleeting, so we need to grab it when it comes; even when it comes in the form of a foggy day turned bright. A walk was called for…
This is the time of the year for which they wrote the song lyric: “Summertime… and the living is easy.”
Days are warm, nights become cool enough to sleep and the gardens are producing food, flowers and look beautiful in the afternoon sun.
Pickling of various vegetables consume the diligent gardeners time (I like to include myself in that category). Now is the time to fill the cool, dark larders in the basement which pays dividends in the cold harsh days ahead.
Generations of humans have experienced this time of year and for the wise among us, the shortening days inspire the instincts to prepare for the future. This is one instinct which almost all of us share, no matter our race, our geography, our nationality. For the wise among us, we know that one must prepare in the good times for the hard times most certainly ahead.
A garden in the summer is the most basic of human rites. Did you plant yours?
“Don’t it always seem to go; you don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone.” – Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi”
So. Life has changed. It continues to change and we don’t really know when the tumult and whirlwind are going to stop. Livelihoods and businesses being put on hold, some even being destroyed, while the people involved are just told to “take one for the team.”
Here up in the Prairie, the appearance of life seems unchanged. Sure, the restaurants and honky tonks are closed, but we can still get take out. The powers that be haven’t ordered checkpoints yet, so we can still travel unfettered; but only if we have someplace to go to and a reason to go there. The thing I miss the most right now is being able to go to Sunday Mass and sing joyous songs to the Lord. My hope is that eventually that will be restored, but will it ever be the same again?
What do you miss? What will never be the same again? What did you have before the Virus that is gone?
For what should we be thankful? For the amazing prosperity that we enjoy in this country? For the legacy of liberty that has been handed to these generations by those who have gone before? For electricity or indoor plumbing or modern appliances or for any number of important inventions and developments that have contributed to our wonderful American way of life? How about all of the above?
A man, having worked and planned for success all of his adult life is on the cusp of attaining it all. He has worked hard and saved to buy the business he wanted, in the city he loved. He built the new building that would help him to deliver all of the services he knows his customers want and he is poised, finally poised, to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors. His later years stretch out in front of him in a shining vision of exactly the life he wants to live.
Yes, he has sacrificed a great deal of his youth working towards his goal. He may have not been able to spend all of the time he might have wanted with his family. However, now he can pay it all back. Now that he has attained his goals and secured his and his families’ futures, now he can be everything he has always wanted to be to them. Now, he has time… Except, now he doesn’t. A diagnosis of cancer, a bad one, has suddenly brought his future into a monthly chemotherapy frame of focus. Hope no longer means hoping one can get a reservation at the trendy tropical resort, hope now means being around for Easter.
For what should we be thankful? How about our friends, our family, our lives? How about the simple, everyday things like a good cup of coffee and the time to enjoy it?
Thank God every day for the morning and the challenges of each day as they come.
Are you having eggs for breakfast? Here is a account of what you DON”T have to do to have eggs for breakfast.
You don’t have to own chickens.
You don’t have to have a chicken coop
You don’t have to grow field corn or grain to feed your chickens.
You don’t have to clean your chicken coop
You don’t have to go out before dawn to pick eggs out from under the hens.
In years past (within my lifetime) if people wanted eggs, they had to do all the things I listed if they wanted eggs for breakfast.
But now, because you live in the most advanced society in the history of the world AND because you have the liberty to go anywhere you want for breakfast, all you have to do is go to a drive up window and order eggs. Or go to a grocery mart and buy eggs. Or go to a restaurant and order eggs.