Thursday, April 18, 2013

Goodbye, Barbara

For the third time since October, I've found myself saying goodbye to a good friend.  It gets harder.

This time, it is my long-time chiropractor-cum-therapist, who died of cancer on April 1st.  She found her cancer just before I did, but hers was invasive and spread and never did go into remission.

The celebration of her life was last weekend.  It was beautiful.  It was fitting.  It ended with good food and piles of chocolate.  I bawled my way through the entire thing.

Her partner gave a beautiful eulogy.  She spoke of Barb's joy, her empathy, her gratitude.  She was the type who, on her morning trip to collect the paper, would look for wonders in the world around her - and most days she would find them and call Tamera to come share the beauty.  She was an intellectual dilettante - always taking classes, always learning new things.  Classes on music and nutrition and psychology and anything else that struck her fancy.

As a chiropractor, Barbara was good at inflicting short-term pain, which was definitely good for the long-term gain.  As you lay on her table, to distract you from whatever it was she was about to do, she'd ask you about your life, your cares, your joys, your plans.  She'd listen, really listen.  And, she'd give you her (unsolicited) opinion about it all.

Once, shortly after Joe left home, while I was still trying to decide what shape my life would take, I told her, "I want a change in my life."  She asked me to repeat it.  "I want a change in my life."  A third time.  "I want a change in my life."  Then she spread her hands, looked upwards, and said in a satisfied tone, "There!  It's out there in the Universe.  Change will come to you."  and it did.

At the end of every visit, she'd ask, "does this meet with your approval?"  (If it didn't she'd take time to fine-tune her work as best she could.)  As one of those who eulogized her said, "Today, I am honored to be here as one who knew her.  I am honored to have met with her approval."

I have to agree.  As tears fill my eyes for the umpteenth time since I found out she died, I am honored to be counted among those who loved her; those whom she loved.

Barbara - they said you are waiting in heaven with a glass of the finest wine.  May your time until your friends join you be filled with love and laughter, wry jokes and like-minded new friends.

Live, Laugh, Love.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not Worthy

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
But only say the word, and I shall be healed."

The prayer is part of the Catholic Mass, said just before communion. 

I've always believed the first line, but have had more problems with  the second.  My sense of unworthiness has been helped along by a voice from somewhere in the past telling me that I must be good enough, or God wouldn't say the word, and I'd remain unhealed.  (unspoken is that part that I couldn't hope to be good enough.)

I am not worthy.  not worthy.  not. worthy...

This past week, too tired to do anything productive, I was trolling TED talks (my way of watching TV, I guess...).  I came across Brene Brown, talking about the connection between vulnerability and our ability to empathize and to love.  In her speech, she talks about a trait that whole-hearted people have in common:    they believe they are worthy.

I tried it on for size.

I am worthy.

It felt odd.  like I was boasting, full of myself, thinking I was better than I am, egotistical - a litany of comments from the past, all designed at the time to keep me in my place.

I tried again.

I am worthy.  I have worth. I am worthy.

It still felt odd.  But, somewhere down inside of me, a small voice piped up.  "Really?  I am?  There is hope and love and salvation for me?  Even though I am not good enough?"

I'm going to keep trying it on.

I am worthy.
I am worth loving.