Friday, March 14, 2008

Purpose and possibility

I have a friend whose heart is failing her. Literally. It's not working as it should and her options are very limited given her age. (She is young, which in this case is apparently not a good thing and decreases her chances of surviving surgery).

She is my main "outside" anchor here (my husband being my first and foremost anchor wherever I am), and our friendship has become increasingly important to me as we've made our way through school together. We are very different, with different backgrounds and approaches to life, but we share a lot of striking similarities as well. I think they tend to sneak up on us more... and we are left in wonderment and surprise at the unexpected link.

I have a hard time understanding sickness on a spiritual level. I can see how it provides opportunities for learning and growth (perhaps enlightenment or spiritual evolution), and I know it's an inherent and inevitable part of being corporeal and human... our frailty is an essential component of our self-understanding and experience. But the big "why" of major illness is sometimes tough for me to parse out in a way that leaves the questioning side of me satisfied.

I don't like feeling helpless. I don't like feeling life is unfair to those around me who are good people whom I love and for whom I wish good things. I often wish there was something more I could do than pray and provide emotional support. Something to fix it or resolve it or change it.

I think the helplessness is a lesson in itself. Not a very enjoyable one, but a necessary and significant one nonetheless. And there is a lesson in the praying as well - the provision of outreach, compassion, energy, and intention. We can make choices; we can seek connection; we can offer help. Perhaps it is good to remember such things are possible, and to embrace the purpose and possibility behind such actions.

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