In the six-plus years that I’ve been the caregiver for my parents, there have been several occasions to think that the end of a life was near, and I’ve executed my job with as much excellence as I was able. While current events may not rise to the level of the end of a life, a life is still involved; so I’m performing at my best. I’m juggling information, medical professionals, family and friends. I’m at the top of my game.
I get asked all the time: “How are you?” “Are you doing okay?” “How are you doing?”
Depending on who’s asking, I might answer with anything ranging from a snarky, “I’m fine…I’m not the patient”, to a plain, “I’m okay, thanks.”
The fact is that I am okay…as long as I’m doing the work. For many years, I have known of myself that if the walls are burning down around you, I am the guy you want managing the crisis. I’ve proven it time and again over the past thirty-five years.
This morning, a little crack appeared in my armor.
Lisa and I attend a small-town church with really nice folks who try hard to be the good people and the good community citizens they think they ought to be. These are generous people, are kind to a fault, and are a total joy to be with.
The entirety of today’s Palm Sunday service was a cantata; a lovely mix of the contemporary and the traditional. It was terrific, and I found the time useful for editing the contacts list in my smartphone.
The cantata included four narrators representing the writers of the gospels, all the children dressed in ancient garb, a full choir complement of perhaps twenty singers, and a ballerina.
She couldn’t have been much older than twelve, was wearing a pink tutu, and was a stunningly gifted dancer. She used what little space was available to wonderful effect.
I found myself quietly sobbing as the ballerina filled the stage.
I have no particular affinity for ballet, but that’s not what this was about. This was about a quiet, non-walls-burning-down moment during which the humanness that lives inside of me found release.
I realized then that I am not a rock; that I am not an island. I am not looking forward to the next quiet moment.