Sunday, July 22, 2007

On Appreciating Life

I want to thank J.K. Rowling for chapter 2 in her latest book. I used it to illustrate a point to help my son. Last week, our pastor, Msgr. Eisler, died of a brain tumor.

Last May, Msgr. Eisler had a stroke. He didn't want to go to the hospital because he was afraid of disappointing the children who would be making their first Communion in two days. He had relatives visiting at the time, and one of them finally convinced him to leave by telling him (I hope I'm remembering the words correctly) that if he didn't think God would take care of those children without him, "you are not the man I thought you were." During recovery from the stroke, the tumor was discovered. Because it was an aggressive tumor, our pastor opted for comfort care.

When people suddenly move out of our lives, it causes me to ponder why they moved in. Msgr. Eisler was placed at our church to heal it after events I will not speak of here. He had not been at our church long, but he did have a great impact on my family. I remember when he introduced himself he apologized to our very Italian congregation that he was not Italian. His soft spoken nature was hard to get used to at first. We would strain to hear him at times, even with the microphone. But it was worth listening, because he was a very thoughtful man who drew his inspiration from many sources. He also gave Marina her first opportunity to be a lector, something that she had wanted to do since she was nine.

I hadn't realized he had made an impact on Chase until his sudden departure because of the stroke. Chase has a soft heart. Every week after the stroke, when we prayed for Msgr. Eisler during intercessions, Chase welled up with tears. I admit I've been afraid to go to church lately. Because we do not live in the neighborhood of our church, I was afraid we wouldn't hear about Msgr. Eisler's passing until we were sitting in the pews. But God was looking out for my son. Hubby found out at the Harry Potter party he went to with the kids, where they ran into a fellow parishioner. He told me, and we decided to tell the kids last night, before church on Sunday. As expected, Chase took the news very hard. In all fairness, between people and pet losses, my children have faced death much more often than I had at their age.

As I talked with my son, I drew inspiration from the latest Harry Potter book (I don't want to ruin it for anyone, if you've read the book, you'll understand what I'm talking about.) We talked about cherishing people who are in our lives while they are alive, rather than regretting the loss of a chance to spend time with them. It's impossible to know how much time we will have with our loved ones. I am not trying to sound morbid, far from it. I try to be present minded and appreciate people as they come into my life. I strive to appreciate people NOW, because all I have is now. I choose not to fear death, but rather to celebrate life, all life. That is what I want for my children as well. I cannot keep them from feeling sad. Loss is sad, and it must be experienced for healing to occur. What I want is to help them to avoid regretting the missed opportunity to appreciate those who touch their lives.

And on that note, I want to tell all of my blogger buddies and my lurkers how much I appreciate that you take the time to read my ramblings and how much I appreciate those of you who have shared a glimpse into your world through the blogs and forums I've read.

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