Sunshine warms the room and me as I sit writing, watching waves hurl a few daring surfers towards the shore. The storm’s past but powerful waves beckon a few to leash surfboards to their ankles, paddle out even on a cold wintry day, to seek a frozen thrill or two.
As for the thrill of victory, that goes to the Denver Broncos, not the Patriots. While I don’t like losing, I’m happy for Peyton Manning, especially if this is his final season. Watched the game at Chad’s house, then decompressed somewhat on the drive home.
After a while, I settled down with a book, a really good book, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I’d read a review in the Boston Globe, then when my reading consultant/editor/friend Martha recommended it to me, I bought it and started reading Saturday and finished it last night. Football wins and losses shrink to a mere game when juxtaposed against true matters of life and death.
Kate often reminds me of the thin veil between life and death, or afterlife, as she talks about Jud, as easily as saying, “hello” and “goodbye.” On the Sunday after Epiphany, Jennie and Brooke, Kate’s Sunday School teachers, told the story of the Wise Men. They placed 4 small bowls on the table: ones for frankincense, gold and myrrh plus an empty 4th bowl. They focused on the empty bowl after reading these lines from Christina Rossetti’s poem,
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can give I give Him: give my heart.”
Then they passed the empty bowl, inviting anyone to share what they’d like to give to Jesus. When Kate’s turn came she said,”My grandpa because he’s the one who started our whole family…but we did give him already to Jesus because he’s in heaven.”
Surfers skimming waters, marking the place where we placed Jud’s ashes on Father’s Day, a young doctor’s profoundly thoughtful and moving memoir, When Breath Becomes Air and the treasure Kate placed in the empty bowl, offering her Popo again to Jesus: life here and there.
Thoughts and memories both break and open my heart, leaving me with gratitude and a question:
What will I give to Jesus in the empty bowl of this day?
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