With this Easter weekend now upon me, I will confess to having been perplexed and confounded by the imagery of three’s. Three’s have been floating in front of my imagination all week and I don’t know why. But the longer I stared at my blank note pad, the more confirmed I became in deciding to simply acknowledge I didn’t know where any of this was going; commit to the ‘doing’ of it; letting the rest sort out from there. Rereading the free flow now running, I wonder if I may have just inadvertently captured the pivotal role of humility in my own personal definition of Faith.
We Humans may not stack up to the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to tooth or claw, but we are really good at being observant as a species. Bipeds or not, we have refined an uncanny ability to capture the essence of very complicated Truths and reduce them down to short pithy bursts of insight. Lofty perhaps, but let me illustrate just how much you and I already know about this spinning collection of puzzle pieces we call Life. Complete the following three sentences and see how you do against the rest of the class assembled here today.
“A stitch in time saves…?”
“What goes around, comes…?”
“Good things come in…?”
How did you do? Aces, I’m sure. But that last one can be a little tricky in that I’ve heard some folks replace the word ‘Good’ with the word ‘Bad’. Seems some Truths can’t be nailed down to just one side or the other but half full or empty, they both end at three. What gives?
Travel with me now to my doctors’ office yesterday (Good Friday). The scene? An examining room with all the warmth and coziness stainless steel and rolled paper coverings can muster. The doctor enters.
“Do you play the lottery?”
“No. Not really…only when it gets big.”
“This might be the day you want to buy a ticket. In fact, buy me a ticket. I don’t know what god you pray to, but I’d appreciate it if you would put in a good word for me.”
“I’m sorry…I don’t follow”.
“The tumor we removed from your intestines last week was the size of a grapefruit. You knew that. What you didn’t know is that for such a large growth to not be cancerous is beyond the scope of the medical literature. We tested every single one of the lymph nodes in your gut. No cancer there either. We had two other oncologists confirm the pathologists’s reports. Independent of one another, we all came to the same conclusion. You don’t have cancer. You must be the luckiest man on the Planet.”
There are now six of us in this little gray room. Doc, three nurses, me and Rick. Rick looks over at me and says, “Good things come in three’s”. I instantly know what he’s talking about. It was in my late teens I had fallen five-stories and lived. Now, these many years later and after all the foreplay that had led to last week’s surgery, I lose an alien and find no cancer in its wake. It makes me wonder what the third thing is going to be? Or having found Love so many years ago, is that my third?
In this same week, Uncle Lee died. One of the last things he said to me (and then again to Rick) was, “I want to die at home”. My cousins made sure his wish was granted. For all the tests and procedures, for all the specialists, there had arrived a realization in his eyes that only comes to the wise. It was time. It was his time and he wanted his terms over that which he had no other control. Be at home, surrounded by his loved ones and the things that he knew best. His old house. Our old house. One more time it was to be the site of Life coming and going.
As my tribute to the man I lovingly referred to as ‘the old fart’ (which, by the way, was a moniker he loved), I take you to another Easter weekend several years ago. First sharing this with you as After the Before [Published on 4/14/2012 – https://dan4kent.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/after-the-before/], I had the pleasure of reading this to him well after it published. We were sitting on his porch and I had just finished. After a long pause, he simply said, “It’s good”. And I was over the moon. You can jump there when we’re done.
He was the kind of man that meant as many different things to each of his kids, and their kids and their kids as any man could. He knew how to work. He discovered how to love. And he demonstrated how to die. “Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.” Him never being one to follow the rules, I believe it. Lee is not in his grave. Lee is in the sky with his wife and everyone that’s preceded him there. He is laughing, dancing and scratching off a whole new brand of lottery tickets. I thank him and all those beyond who’ve helped me scratch my own winning ticket here.
I am loved. So was he. Travel well old wise one.
And now to the jump. First published on 4/14/2012, please enjoy my snapshot of how this family works.
After the Before
A Thousand Winds by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Stand_at_My_Grave_and_Weep with photo attribution to SDBR: http://blog.daum.net/_blog/BlogTypeView.do?blogid=0Mg8l&articleno=7140478&categoryId=0®dt=20140506125614
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