Saturday, 19 November 2011

Live Every Day

Today I greeted B.A., who went to work. Then I walked to the nearest grocery store, which is through a lightly wooded area and network of paths, and bought coffee and little doughnuts. I tidied the sitting-room and set out the coffee and doughnuts. My Polish teacher arrived at 11. We had a nice long Polish lesson. The fact that in Polish, as in Latin, the neuter nominative is the same as the neuter accusative delighted us. Yay, Indo-European!

I started this post, and then my brother called me on Skype. I saw him and his two children, and we had a brief chat. Then I called my father on Skype, and we too had a video chat.

This morning I also read my friend Hilary's update about her health. The news is not good. Hilary's cancer is not gone, and she may be ill for the rest of her life. Her life may very well be shorter than it would have been, had she not got cancer. She has agreed to have a hysterectomy, anticipates early, violent menopause, and predicts that she will never get married.

She is now thinking about what she should do for the rest of her, possibly shortened, life.

Myself, I do not know when I am going to die. And I don't know when B.A. is going to die either, so I don't know how much longer I am going to be married. I know a woman who married in her late twenties to a man in his mid-twenties, who suddenly died of a heart-attack less than a year later. Nobody knew until the autopsy that he had had a series of minor heart attacks; he seemed a perfectly healthy young man.

Essentially, we are all going to die, and the question that confronts us all is "How do we live, knowing that we are going to die?" We do not know what we are going to be doing, so what do you hope you will be doing? Will you go when you are creeping here and there bitterly, having resented not getting what others have got, or will you be striding joyfully through the life you have when you are called suddenly into the next room?


Anne said...

I'm sorry, Seraphic, to hear about your friend's illness. Life deals out some tough hands sometimes. I'm sure there are many lessons in it, but sometimes the best we can do is comfort one another and share in our sorrows. Maybe that is enough.

Praying for her health and well being. You are a good friend to her.

Katie said...

Thank you for this post Seraphic. I'm currently sitting at home possibly with whooping cough (who knew you could still get that). Reading about Hilary certainly put my illness into perspective. Life deals out strange things with seemingly little explanation at the time. Her story really touched me today. I'm praying for her.

Little Mary said...

Will keep Hilary in my prayers... I was told once the reason that we pray "now and at the hour of our death" at the end of the Hail Mary is that those are the most critical times for us...

Adam's Rib said...

Thanks for this Seraphic. I felt very sad after reading Hilary's post today. I really liked your response to it, it was spot on. I do so hate to read about the idea that a person has 'missed' their vocation. It just doesn't make sense and is a misunderstanding of God's will.
Perhaps you could write some more on this and re-post what you wrote there?

Mustard Seed said...

I will pray for Hilary as well, for her health, well-being, and peace. I hope she knows God's comfort and love during what must be a scary time.

I too would be curious to hear more about the idea of "missed vocations." Honestly it sounds really sad to me. It made me worry about missing my vocation - what if I miss (or have already missed) the boat despite my best efforts? We all make mistakes, so how does this work? God gives us second chances, right?

Mary said...

I am so sorry for your dear friend. What a terrible blow. :( Praying for her! I would love to hear your thoughts on this question too. I am reminded of a quote from an article on vocations by Fr Peter Ryan SJ that I found very comforting when I had a breast cancer scare recently: "The real possibility that we could die before we carry something out or that other things could intervene and make something impossible should warn us not to conclude that we are definitely called to do something in the future, but only that we are called to try to do it. Often enough, all God wants is the effort; and if we make the effort, we produce the results he desires."

Betsy said...

Prayers for your friend and for you, too!

As for me, if I can show God's love to others in my life, I will consider it well-spent. That's my goal.

Anonymous said...

I read Hilary's blog; I only commented once and she was kind enough to answer me on where to find some resources on classical art training. I wish her well even though I don't know her and am unlikely to ever meet her.

The term "missed vocation" drives me nuts. Priests and vowed religious have a vocation. Everything else is an inclination IMO and should be considered a service to your parish vs a vocation or ministry.

I think the Church is making a big mistake in not allowing for late vocations to the religious life for women as they did in the middle ages. Not only for wealthy duchesses and women with large dowries, but for women who truly felt called but had impediments such as early childbirth, early marriage, etc. - St Rita of Cascia for one. Especially women who are entering a meditative part of their life where they might crave the quiet and prayer of the cloister and the chance to make peace with God.

Maybe the rest of us should donate to convents so they can afford to take in woman who are not in the peak of glowing health.

The orders that have gotten a lot of media publicity can pick and choose among 20 year olds whom I predict will last 10-15 years. I thought about the Carmelites after a bad car crash a few years ago - pedestrian (me) hit by truck. They accept women over 30.

Hilary's post made me think about my two first loves: art and travel vs boatloads of money from a boring job. And it doesn't matter HOW old you are -- anybody can be in an accident, be murdered, etc. So that post was really thought provoking even if you are only 21 - what do I want to be doing when . . .

isabella of the north