As promised, I am continuing Word Up Wednesday by featuring reflections written during my Clinical Pastoral Education Internship. The following was written in March 2015. Again, Scripture was added and minor edits made to be shared here on www.reverendmotherrunner.com
Recently, in the hospital and in my personal life, I have become well acquainted with death. These deaths have been varied, from the young to the old, coming after long illness and happening sudden. These deaths have caused be to think about the nature of life. What is life? How am I to approach life?
When I think about the nature of our lives, the word delicate comes to mind. Delicate has three very different definitions. First, something that is delicate is very fine in texture, of intricate workmanship. Second, something that is delicate can become damaged and/or easily broken. Third, something that is delicate requires careful and sensitive handling. These three definitions of delicate are fitting for understanding the nature of life.
Life is an intricate workmanship. In other words, life is beautiful. When I think about life—human beings and nature, I am drawn to the beauty of it all. The vibrant colors of spring flowers. The vastness of the ocean. The missing-toothed smile of a five year old. The curve of a woman’s body. The gorgeous texture and detail of skin wrinkled with age. All around us, is beauty.
And yet in the midst of this beauty, life can become damaged or easily broken.We know this all too well in the hospital. Our bodies, not made to last forever, are vulnerable to sickness and disease. We experience pain and discomfort. Some of us are living in chronic pain. From the youngest to the oldest, pain and discomfort are part of life. We are fragile, even on our strongest days. Not only are we physically delicate, but from time to time, our spirits become weak, overwhelmed, and bend under the weight of life’s burdens.
And here is where the third definition of delicate becomes so important. Life requires careful and sensitive handling. Because we are beautiful people with beauty surrounding us, it is important to take good care of ourselves and each other. I like to buy fresh-cut flowers at the grocery store. And if we think about the layout of the grocery store, the flowers are right at the entrance. Whenever I buy fresh cut flowers from the grocery store, I am so careful about where I place the flowers in my cart. With every item I pick up and place in my cart, I maneuver the flowers around. I want my flowers to be as beautiful when I get them home and on my table as they are in the store. In the same way, as beautiful as the flowers are, they are also very easily damaged. Petals can come off. Stems can get crushed. And so I move them not only to preserve their beauty, but also to keep them strong and healthy. Life is like those flowers. Beautiful, yet vulnerable, in need of lots of love and care.
Will you pray with me?
Gracious God, we are in awe of the delicate nature of our lives. The beauty of life, and the fragility of life. Teach us to handle ourselves, and each other, with loving care. Grant us the wisdom to be sensitive to our own, and each others, needs. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.