A prayer, peace and acceptance.

14Nov09

Lonely bench, ©2009 all rights reservedB.’s father died early yesterday morning.

He’d been in a nursing home for about two years, landing there after a long and – from what I’d heard – often destructive battle with alcoholism and its attendant illnesses.

He died in his sleep, and I think B. had made his peace with him a while back, so I am thankful for these things.

In the 3+ years B. & I have been together, I never got to meet the man. Of course I made the assumption that it was something about me that kept that meeting from happening, but I came to understand recently that it wasn’t.

In fact, B. told me that he was sorry that I hadn’t met his dad, and that he was even more sorry that his dad hadn’t met me. I appreciated his making that distinction, and the bittersweet admission.

We spoke about my own parents, against whom I still hold numerous resentments, no matter how hard I try to let them go. I hope eventually I’ll let go, given enough time and effort. As B. said this morning, “There are no guarantees” that the people in your life will be there tomorrow or the next day. So it is probably in everyone’s best interests to accept the past and the present, and just live with both, and make the best of both.

As we spoke, after I expressed my sorrow and offered condolences, I struggled to know what to do, how to act, how to be, what to say, regarding B.’s father. We live an hour apart, and I probably won’t be able to see him for a day or so. I told him if he needed any help with anything – making phone calls, putting together a family gathering, dogsitting, whatever – I would do it. Still, I felt anxious; expressing my sympathy and trying to offer comfort via a phone call seemed terribly insufficient. Overall, I felt helpless and useless.

I went to an AA meeting at noon, and as usually happens, I heard what I needed to hear. The man chairing the meeting read The Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Just what I needed to hear.

This wasn’t and isn’t about me, and I know that. The best thing to do now is get outside of myself — offer myself up to help, to serve, to be there – for however I’m needed. It may be that I’m not needed, and that’s okay. I won’t press to be involved, as I might have done in the past. I’ll just be there.

And that’s enough.

And…I think I’ll call my mom and my dad today.

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7 Responses to “A prayer, peace and acceptance.”

  1. 1 Sharon

    I am sorry to hear about B’s father’s death. May all be well.

    I like the concept of “holding a container” for someone… that’s all that is often needed… someone who cares enough to listen. It is a spiritual concept that has “stretched” me and has offered alot to others.

    http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2007/9795.html

  2. ah bless. yes i feel the same at times of loss. i just try to be helpful. in whatever way I can. nice post 🙂

    Hey here’s a thing i found that you may like.
    ignore it if you want, that’s fine, 🙂 but i just thought id mention it just in case..

    Its an anti-discrimination petition for Buddhist nuns..if you feel so inclined

    http://new.ipetitions.com/petition/bhikkhuni-ordination/

    You can remain anonymous online, ie not show your name.

    Being a girlee I hate to see any kind of unfairness toward women if they are just as capable as men, and some recent shenanigans in an Australian monastery where a ‘rebel monk’ went against the wishes of his superiors and fully ordained 3 nuns, and was swiftly ‘excommunicated’, have brought this matter to a head, thereby creating a !! perfect opportunity to confront the elephant in the room regarding ‘proper’ female ordination. 🙂
    So this long overdue issue has the potential to be addressed properly, as those ‘superiors’ are going to have to issue a statement and explanation as to the events that led up to the excommunication.
    Its an interesting chapter, and there is potential for the discriminatory exclusion of women in this tradition to be overturned, once and for all. But who knows eh. Only time will tell. No harm trying in the meantime.. 🙂

  3. 3 C

    Sharon: “Being a container” = perfect. I love that. That article was very helpful and expressed exactly what was confounding me. I especially appreciated the mention of “humility.” This scenario requires a lot of that and I hadn’t realized it until I read it right there. Thank you for sharing.

  4. 4 C

    Irish: I’ll check out the petition. Thanks.

  5. 5 Mary W.

    Prayers to B. on the death of his father. Prayers to you for the strength to be there for him.

    My first death in AA was my sister in law who I was not close at all to. On the way to the gravesite, I was crying like a baby all the way down the highway. I knew it had nothing to do with her, but with those who had passed while I was still drinking: my mother, my father and my husband. I had never allowed myself to feel the feelings. Don’t be surprised if something like this happens to you. It just means that you are growing.

    As for my parents, they were both gone when I got sober. It took me several years of working through the hurt that I perceived to get to where I could accept them exactly as they were. I actually have a picture at work of my father and myself when I was a child. Pretty big deal for me.

    Take it a day at a time. That is all we are guaranteed.

    M

  6. found this and thought you might like 🙂

    The best scholar is the one who realises the meaning of non-self
    The best practitioner is one who has tamed their own mind
    The best quality is a great desire to benefit others
    The best instruction is to always watch the mind
    The best remedy is to know that nothing has any inherent reality
    The best way of life is one that does not fit with worldly ways
    The best accomplishment is a steady lessening of negative emotions
    The best sign is a steady decrease of desires
    The best generosity is non-attachment
    The best discipline is a peaceful mind
    The best patience is to take the lowest place
    The best diligence is to give up activities
    The best concentration is to not alter the mind
    The best wisdom is not to grasp at anything at all

    Atisha – 982 – 1054 ce
    The Indian scholar from the university of Vikramashila who spent the last ten years of his life in Tibet, where his teachings emphasized the basic practices of taking refuge and training the mind in love & compassion.

  7. 7 Vera

    Hola, te escribo desde El Salvador, Amérca Central. Me ha fascinado tu blog, tengo 92 días y quiero saber si puedo reproducir tu regalo de 3 meses en unas galletitas. Gracias, tu página ha sido de gran esperanza para mí. 24 horas.


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