Last Friday night, I received a call that none of us want to get. An ambulance driver was calling me to tell me that my friend and neighbor had been in a very serious car accident. They suggested I come to the hospital. The accident could easily have been a fatal one for her.
As I drove to the hospital to be with her, I thought how precious, and yet how fragile, our lives are. And how unexpected events can end our lives as we know them. Events like car accidents, unanticipated and life-threatening illnesses, and wars that destroy people’s lives as they knew them; all these events can alter our lives and the lives of those around us. My heart ached for my friend, but I also rejoiced in her survival, just as my heart went out to the refugees who shared their story with us on Sunday.
My friend today told me that she feels more alive now that she has in a very long time. She is grateful for the people in her life that that bring her joy. She’s focusing now on a “new normal” that is less focused on day to day worries and tasks--and more focused the people around her and on the positive aspects of her life that light up her life and the lives of those around her.
We heard on Sunday about the devastations of war that leave countries, cultures, and human lives changed forever. But we also heard the optimism of survival and intentionally going forward with courage and making new beginnings. In the refugee story and my friend’s story, I hear gratefulness for life and for communities of kindness and sharing.
One of my favorite books and a source for daily prayers is Celtic Benedictions by J. Philip Newell. The Thursday prayers include the following:
The vitality of God be mine this day
the vitality of the God of life.
The passion of Christ be mine this day
the passion of the Christ of love.
The wakefulness of the Spirit be mine this day
the wakefulness of the Spirit of justice.
The vitality and passion and wakefulness of God be mine
that I may be fully alive this day
the vitality and passion and wakefulness of
that I may be fully alive.
That we all may be fully alive to love and to life. Que así sea. (That it might be so.)