Wednesday, January 30, 2008

life lost - courage found.

It is entirely too easy behaving cold and cruel.

The cruelty and coldness often comes not in what is said or done but in what is left unsaid and left undone - in knowing how to love and what to do and not doing it.

I have noticed in my own life that climbing mountains has never been as difficult as crossing 5 feet of space between 2 estranged people. In fact, just crossing 5 feet between any 2 people...

This year I made what would be the first of several necessary 5 foot journeys. It was harder indeed. Finding my way to forgiving and loving didn't come all at once. Too much history and too many barriers erected to remove in one swoop. But I became alive when I took my first step and found I wanted more.

A few steps in, I was literally 20 feet from another round of confession, forgiveness, and possibly so much more, and my mom went into cardiac arrest. Twenty feet away from saying words that I had rehearsed for half a decade. Knowing that my approach, delayed by too many worthless reasons, fell 20 feet shy... knowing it will be so for the rest of my life... is pain.

But, before her passing we spent 2 incredible weeks in the hospital. It brought a side of each of us that neither had ever seen. As a son, I gained a mom I honestly had never understood - we had both been too guarded and hurt to let each other in. I touched a hand that I had never touched with such gentleness and a forehead and hair that I had never felt like that. I heard stories I had never heard and understood this woman like I had never understood her - her pain, her joy, her humor.

I am ashamed it took 28 years and heart failure to get me to caress her face. But I am rich for the mom I gained those last few weeks. And I am rich for what I have learned in her life and in her death. I desire that life be as real to me everyday as it was to me that day. I desire that my courage to love and love well be what it was not for too long.

As much as I hate that I was 20 feet away that day and not by her side, I am relieved I wasn't still standing miles away in fear. I am thankful beyond words that I began the journey.

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