A friend recently emailed me, expressing some self doubt he is having about some big changes he wants to make in how he lives and supports himself and his family. Here was my response:
Let's say everyone in the world is born holding a puzzle piece. At some point in our lives, we've got to bring our puzzle piece to the table. It may have some curves that are similar to another's puzzle piece, or a common color scheme. It probably fits into a spot surrounded by at least 4 more pieces that have similar designs... but if you don't bring your piece to the table, no one will ever get to see the complete picture.
So screw whether someone thinks your puzzle piece is the right color, or if they can't see it clearly and don't think it fits, or whatever. Your job isn't to please their sensibilities, your sole job is to bring your piece to the table.
You may set it down in the wrong place at first, or upside down, but that's ok. You'll realize your mistake soon enough and try something else, until you find exactly the place your piece goes. You've got to bring it to the table to start the process though; it's a huge puzzle and sitting back observing until you think you know exactly how to plug your piece in isn't going to work.
In short: you have every business doing what you feel called to do. What you don't have any business doing is, not doing what you feel called to do. That interest and calling is how we know what our puzzle piece is.
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
This is me, my grandmother (on my dad's side), my nephew, and my brother. This picture is nearly 6 years old (based on the fact that my nephew is now almost six and a half).
My grandmother died this evening, at around 5:25. Peacefully, I am told.
When I was a kid, my family visited her and my grandfather quite a lot. We only lived 2 or 3 hours away, in Michigan. I remember lots of berry picking, pie and cookie baking, swimming, and wintery things like sledding. They lived in a very cool octagon-shaped house that my grandfather built, in a pretty wilderness-y area of Michigan with lots of lakes around. It was a great place for me, my brother, and our three cousins to get to spend vacations.
My grandmother stayed with me while my parents were at the hospital when my brother was being born. I always associate her with warmth and old-fashioned nurturing.
When I was 7, my family moved many many hours drive away, and I was never really close with her again (or any of the northern branch of my family that I had spent my formative years around, really). I've seen her maybe half a dozen times in the years since then. I've kept track of her through my father, and I assume she heard about the major highlights of my life the same way. I sent a Christmas card every year, just to remind her that I still thought of her and loved her, even though we weren't really in touch any more.
I still do think of her and love her.
Happy ascension, Helen Josephine Nevill Capper
November 10, 1925 - October 11, 2011