So, now, life continues. My dear brother has left his life and our lives.
One of the issues too complex to fully grasp is this notion that life goes on. Most of us are so consumed with ourselves, that we think the rest of the world must be also. And if not, why not? After all, I’m so terrific, I deserve all your attention all of the time. And then we go, we disappear into the netherworld, and the rest of the world (at least some tiny part of that world) grieves briefly, a day, a week, a month, a year, and then moves on, captured again by that larger world to which we all belong, whether we know it or not. And move on we must.
So what are we to make of this sense of self-importance that is in fact so completely ephemeral? It is not, I believe, that we are actually unimportant. Oh, we are to most of the larger world, but our purpose in holding this sense of ourselves, may lie in how we connect to that larger world. If nothing lies beyond, one surely reasonable assumption, then what matters is our brief time here. For we hold no influence over the great beyond, religious dogma notwithstanding. Rather, our purpose seems to be to forge connections to other persons, connections that will bring some small joy, and connections to this larger world, connections that enhance rather than damage that larger world.
So, when we are kind and true to our loved ones, we bring joy, and that joy may spread to others around this globe—the butterfly phenomenon. And when we protect the little ones, in their hours of need, we serve the larger purpose of sustaining those who depend on us. A Native American writing on this issue proclaims:
“It doesn’t interest me to know where you live, or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.”
Then, when we depart this life, and depart we must, we will have left something behind that lives beyond our brief term here.
Each of the people who preceded me and touched my life, affected who I am. In turn, I affect those whose lives I touch, even briefly. If my touch is gentle, they may remember, and my purpose is fulfilled.
So did my brother, and now he is gone. And so our lives continue, briefly, but meaningfully. The world continues, and that is a good thing.