“Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let’s not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.” – HENRI NOUWEN
Life and death are connected by vulnerability. How true. Today my niece Angie and her husband Rob welcomed a little girl into the world. Kendra Clara Reid came into this world early this morning. She is our great-niece, now making us GREAT Uncle Kevin and GREAT Aunt Catherinanne for the 20th time! (We are Uncle Kevin and Aunt Catherinanne 26 times! What a great gift! She is precious and beautiful and indeed she is vulnerable.
Just a little over a day ago, my sister-in-law Karen lost her father Lawrence Blagdon. He was 76 and while he was facing some health issues, his death came very unexpectedly.
Mr. Blagdon was a quiet, strong and dignified man who loved his family and was proud of them. I have fond memories of his visits to Whiteway. Time around the dinner table with my family was precious. I was impressed with his economy of words. He would not say a lot – then again – who could around a table of Georges – but when he did speak he made great use of his words. His many nights playing cards with my Mom and Dad with his wife Margaret were also memorable for me. I could count on mom and dad telling me about a great game of cards with the Blagdon’s’ when I would call early in November, as they always made the trip for Grandson Matthew’s birthday. Those days are great to remember and to cherish because of the life enjoyed by the four great people around that card table. Much has changed since those days. How pleased we can be that they enjoyed times together and enjoyed life. Life is such a precious gift and it is a vulnerable one. Mr. Blagdon will be missed – he was a good friend to our family.
For my brother and his wife, the first days of 2012 were spent in hospital dealing with the vulnerable nature and fragility of human life. At the same time, in the first days of 2012, my niece and her husband were in the hospital dealing with the vulnerable nature and fragility of human life. While some waited nervously for life to begin, others waited nervously for life to end. And they were not alone.
A year or so ago, I was at Met Hospital attending to a death. It was a peaceful place as we said farewell to one of God’s children. As we finished prayers we heard the familiar tune of the lullaby playing over the PA system. A baby had been born on the maternity floor. When you stand in ICU holding death’s hand and you hear life’s song playing as a soundtrack, you become keenly aware that birth and death do indeed remind us of how very fragile, vulnerable and precious our lives are.
So I hope that I can respond to that knowledge by living a life that displays a level of care and respect for others and respect for the life that I have been given. That’s what I think of when I remember Lawrence Blagdon. He displayed such great respect for others and kindness towards everyone when he was strong and healthy. He was able to in times of prosperity and health live in a manner that was in good keeping with what God expects of his own. He has now finished his course and is welcomed home! My prayer for Mrs Blagdon, and for her family at this time is comfort and peace. I pray it may come from the well wishes and visits of the many who were touched by his quiet, gentle respect for others and for life itself.
We stand always on the edge of a very vulnerable journey. Whether we are on day one of that journey, or day 76 –or anywhere in between, we need always be reminded of how each moment is a gift and should be treasured as opportunity live as God would will us to live – seeking to find that which is good in others and respecting the dignity of all.