Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha said, “Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Our perception of what we see has absolutely nothing to do with our aging sagging skin, operation scars, warts or weight. It’s all about who we are inside, who we have become. We either like it or we don’t. Not liking what we see is suffering in its truest form. What do we do? How do we change it? I only know it happens. And in time, all things change.
Some people go through life without so much as a strong puff of wind, or at least it seems so. Some hit hurricanes when they turn a corner, or at least it seems so. The truth is we only know what it feels like for us.
Thursday night a very gentle sweet lovely woman died in her sleep. I have known her for over 20 years since she is the mother of my sister-in-law. She always spoke softly, never raised her voice, taught fourth grade Sunday School for 49 years, and smiled all the time. She died like she lived – softly, sweetly in her own bed, in her own house at the age of 93. We are all heartbroken. We didn’t expect it at all.
Now I know Mary faced adversity. We all do. She lost her husband at a relatively young age. But whatever it was, she never did dwell on it. She didn’t wear it like a sling on a broken arm. I wish I was more like Mary.
My father on the other hand, a sweet man of 92 years, has dementia and a host of other things and requires 24/7 care. None of us ever thought Mary would pass before my Dad. Dad still lives, eats, smiles, and is grateful. We have been helping him for six years now. Adversity? Oh yes, the stress level is off the charts these days. But what we are doing is right and a good thing to do.
As I morn Mary’s passing, I will always remember her with profound admiration because she lived her life in the moment and for others. A broken arm heals. Just give it time. Gee, another Advent lesson.