Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Love: In Word and Deed

"Love is the Oxygen of the Soul."
~ Tony Robbins

Recently, I lost a dear friend of mine, who died suddenly, at the age of 83.  She was like a second mother for me, as I had known her most of my life, beginning when I was ten.  In ways my own parents sometimes could not be, she had been wise counsel in my life.  She had been a teacher at my elementary school, and had attended the same church my extended family attended during my youth, in my California home town.  I had gotten to know her daughters, who were around my age: especially the youngest, who became like the sister I'd not had in my own family.  When I heard the news of Mary's death, feeling the shock, realizing the impact of this loss, and beginning to feel my own feelings of overwhelming grief, I immediately turned to her family, inquiring as to how I might be of help, comfort, and support.

Two different memorial services were planned, in two different cities: one in the NW part of the country, and one in the SW.  I was fortunate to be able to attend the one in NW Washington, which was closer to where I lived.  I made it a point to be there, to help out and be supportive, and show love in the ways that I could: by my presence, and in word and deed.

When the attendees were invited to share their thoughts and stories about Mary during the memorial service, I composed myself, and with a voice quavering managed to say:

          "I had the good fortune of having known Mary for 45 of my 55 years. . . .  She was the consummate friend:  an example of warmth and grace, kindness and love.  When I think of her, and her impact on the lives she touched, I'm reminded of a quote by Queen Rania of Jordan: 'When you empower a woman, you empower a nation.'  I know that the impact of her professional and volunteer work, and the way in which she cared for, and interacted with her family and friends, have all had that ripple effect as a force for good out in our world."

Throughout the rest of the day, I offered a listening ear, lent a hand in the kitchen, shared stories I could remember about Mary, and gave of myself to hearts that were grieving, and extended my love to her family and friends.  And isn't this an example of what love truly is: being intentional in supportive ways and actions, when a person is in need?  When it's just plain the right thing to do: whether it be for a spouse or partner, family member, friend, acquaintance, or a fellow human being. It's the mark of a decent society, and points to the capacity we human beings have to rise to the occasion of being in service to each other, as it indeed takes a village, when navigating through this life.

My dear friend Mary demonstrated these qualities, too, and I'm disappointed she couldn't be here with us for many more years to come, as the world would truly have benefited. In her honor, and now in her absence, I choose to take on more of the qualities she held dear, and bring more of them to the world now, to honor her special life. With a grateful heart, I'm happy to have known her, and to have benefited so greatly, too.


-Hoyt Winfield

At The Well Of Providence Blogspot  

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