A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. ʺI’ve been thinking,ʺ he said, ʺI know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.ʺ (Author Unknown)
There are times in our lives when we come to a moment where we fear that the journey is too long, too far, the destination too distant. For some people, New Year’s can be like that.
I must admit that on one level these past few days and weeks have been like that for me too.
The source of all that is simple enough – right after my mother died in August, my father fell ill a few short weeks after. And although the blood condition he has is technically “treatable”, my brother and myself have journeyed with my father to a point where he decided that the journey to “medical recovery” was in fact “too long, too far, the destination too distant.”
He resides right now in a palliative care center – which has been a blessing on so many levels.
It has taken us on a different journey – one of the heart – where nothing is too long, too far and where, like the kingdom of God in this world, the destination is so close. And that destination is Love.
I take time to grieve every day now and not just because my father is not long for this world, but because of every thing that has caused me pain or that I have done to cause others pain. I am finding it cathartic even as it can be rocky. Because I grieve, I do not gain something in return, so much as what I have deepens. Even the more difficult stuff I face (we all have difficult stuff to face)becomes more meaningful.
So writing this blog today is not about anticipatory grief or about the triteness of telling you to “savour every moment” or “say what needs to be said before it’s too late”.
It goes deeper than that.
It’s about the wisdom of that little parable I shared earlier.
Without faith, one might be excused if they saw the words I share with you as dreary, or morbid even. But to me, they are not. Because they have led me to spiritually understand something very important.
The journey we walk from point A to point B in this life is too long, too far, the destination too distant only if we forget that the deeper inner faith journey we take knows no such limitations. It is a journey replete with wisdom, healing and gratitude – more than enough for 100 journeys.
An old friend who visited with us at the center shared something so important:
The hardest journeys we walk are the one’s we are forced to walk alone – not in solitude so much as in isolation. And the worst thing we can do to each other is to force each other into such loneliness.
There is no need for anyone to be alone …. ever.
Be blessed. Be a blessing.
Rev. Eric Lukacs