This morning I found myself having to be at work at 7:00 a.m. Having to be out the door early, I became entitled to a phenomenon that is akin to alpine glow, only this was urban glow. The sun was low enough on the horizon that its orange light could not yet rise above the buildings and could only break free to rush down the canyons of city streets casting a reflection on the brick and masonry of Roger’s Park. It made the moment beautiful and I suddenly did not mind having to be up so early. I had thought too much of finality of late; it was good to reflect on a beginning. This sunrise was a gift.
A gift is a fleeting thing. I thought of that long after the sun managed to free itself of the horizon and make Chicago brighter than it had been in days. I thought of it too when I entered work and was afforded the opportunity to say all those good mornings that sound sweeter at Misericordia than anyplace on earth. I gave my greetings to the woman with the gorgeous lochs who is painfully committed to the man with no hair at all, the tall one whose mom has made him a bit of a celebrity in Chicago, the stout guy who is a man’s man and the woman who enjoys Formula One racing. All of those smiles before the tumult of the day. I was glad I had such allies. No Roman general ever fielded an army as committed as these. These are the strong ones and in this place, they stand with me. My good mornings meant something else though. I had thought of finality of late and the fleeting of gifts. These were beginnings and the continuance of gifts.
I had thought too much of finality. I wondered why I did not have the courage or perhaps even the desire to be there for others. I realized the thing is a sickness. I also realized I too was the recipient of such behavior. I could be forgiving in the matter as I did the same, but it does not diminish the malady. People are fragile and when it comes to relationships, you are in or you are out.
At 10:45 I was hit hard. I was called into a room and a friend told me she lost someone. It was a person she struggled with often being “in” and “out.” I remember being judgmental in the matter. If he was a go to guy I thought he would always be “in.” I often expressed this, but I also realized he was often there for her and now that would be no more.
My own sickness got the better of me. I was there for her in the best way I could be, but I was also impacted in the matter. I thought of who I could turn to in discussing this. I could only come up with excuses as to why I should turn to no one. A birthday, not needing a Pastor, having to divulge a confidentiality, and having to reveal more about the person who died than I was entitled to all got in the way. In this matter, everyone was out. It was then I realized this is no way to be.
We all need a person who is always “in.” People are always graceful to me. I love them, but I love them without obligation. Grace it turns out is only one half of the equation. There has to be one person in the world to whom you can always turn, that person to whom you can say “I need you in this one.” Hopefully there are more, but there needs to be one. At 11:00 a.m. I could not think of that person.
I returned to thinking of all those good mornings. There were so many who gave me the greatest cause for joy, only now I needed someone to be there in sorrow and in the face of finality. If I could only find one person who I could ask to pray, then I would be okay. In the absence of this, I could only think the best I could do was express its necessity even though the audience would be small.
You have to itemize your life. You have to decide who you are there for and tell them this. You also must make it clear if someone is such a person to you and listen as they affirm or reject the role. If no one is in that place, I suppose life is very sad, though your own prayers will still mean something.
My thoughts left the sunrise and returned to finality. All I could think was hold fast to the beginnings and discern when these may be the ones that you can go to when light becomes night.