Friday, April 18, 2008

Turning Over the Tea Cup

It looks like we will be staying in Boise a bit longer than planned. We met with a lawyer yesterday, and we were very happy with him, but it turns out he works for a firm that represents the hospital my dad owed money to, so he didn't feel he could represent us. We have another appointment with a different lawyer on Monday morning.

We did accomplish a lot yesterday, though. My dad had a system of piling, not filing, so we were working with a large stack of random papers. Michael took this mess and organized it into a file folder. Then he and I and my sister-in-law condensed all of the information onto a 3 page spreadsheet. Now things are beginning to look more manageable. Whew! There is something very reassuring about creating order from chaos. Dad might not have agreed; he though chaos was far more interesting. :-)

I've been thinking about Dad this morning, feeling his presense inside my heart. He is so much a part of me. He and I used to talk about how our souls were surely linked in another life, that maybe we were siblings or best friends. We could often understand each other without having to explain much. I don't know how, but I still feel connected to him. His voice in my head is comforting and loving, but also challenging and teasing. He never let me get away with feeling sorry for myself. And he always believed in my ability to move through life with grace and strength.

The day before Dad died, he and I talked about death. This might sound impossibly coincidental, but Dad and I rarely had conversations that didn't touch on the things of deepest meaning to each of us - love, death, parenting, etc. Dad told me he was not afraid of dying. He said, in fact, that if he were at the gate of death, it would not be a clear choice of whether to stay here or cross over because he saw death as the next great adventure. He told me that he has no doubt that we somehow continue after death. Dad was not a religious person. He could not take comfort in an idea of heaven or even, really, reincarnation. He always admitted that he did not know what happens when we die. Yet, he found an answer in physics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. He reasoned that even if his life energy changes forms after death, it will continue to exist. It seems such a beautiful thing to me that Dad was not afraid of death, that he was able to view it with curiosity and courage.

There is a Buddhist practice of setting a tea cup next to your bed. Each night you turn the cup over, as though it may be the last time you use it. In the morning, if you wake, you turn the cup upright again, ready to be filled with the life offered to you that day. In that way, you never take for granted a single day of life. If we stay in touch with impermanence, how can we be filled with anything but deep gratitude for life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jessie, Michael,
I think of you often and keep up with your site. You must know already how meaningful it is to us "out here" to be able to keep in touch and know what is going on with you. Thanks so much for sharing. You help us to grow. Love, Susan