What would you save? What is the most important to you?
I remember when I was growing up that there was a house fire in my neighborhood and it was the first time I had seen the terrible destruction of someone’s home. That image remains with me to this day, and I think it was the knowledge that some unforeseen event could change a life in the blink of an eye. I have some small part of my brain that considers my response to an emergency in each setting that I find myself. Today, though, I had an experience that touched me and rocked my ideas of preparation.
I had the opportunity to attend a memorial service for a dear friend who was one of the many mentors I have had. She was a wonderful woman, and beautiful in so many ways. My dearest memory of her was standing in the choir singing that rotten high G as part of a Christmas song. Neither of us could hit that note without being really warmed up, and we were holding hands as a mute symbol of support in that challenge. As it turned out, that night was one of the last times she ever sang because she soon lost her voice as part of the cancer that ravaged her body. The very last time I saw her alive was hours before her death, a time when I knew that the woman I loved was no longer present in that shell of a body. I consider myself blessed to have been there that very last time.
One of my favorites movies and books happens to be What Dreams May Come. In that movie, we watch as the protagonist moves from life to death and share in his experience of the afterlife. As I listened to the words of today’s service, it rocked me to consider that this woman whom I had watched weaken for years was suddenly reborn into eternal life. In an eyeblink, she passed from a shell that was failing her to a place where there is joy, love, and peace. I can hardly explain the surreal feeling I experienced as I considered that transformation.
My first thoughts circle around the idea of “what will you take with you”? In an earthbound emergency like a fire or earthquake, you literally have seconds to grab what is most important and get to safety. When passing from life to death, what can you take with you? I can only find one answer: love. Love of the Creator, of all creation, and of the people who have graced your life– even the ones who hurt you. I am quite certain that I will reflect more on this concept and see how it applies to events of my life.
So, back to the original question: what to take in case of emergency? If all you can take– no matter the situation — is love, then what does that imply? What embodies love in your world?
Big question, I know. But if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I never ask the easy questions. 🙂