Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Really Matters (by Andi)

Tug's dad has battled cancer for about three and a half years now. During that time, I have been in a bit of denial. He's a young enough man. The doctors will figure this out. But with each set-back followed by a come-back, his come-back left him just a bit worse than before. He never really gained any ground. About two weeks ago, Tug's brother called to give us some worrisome news. Dad's not doing well. We have never gotten this kind of call from my brother in law. Tug went out to Virginia to be with family. To be with his dad. And I thank God he went. Tug's dad died on February 17th. Cancer claims another. But OH it was a hard fought fight!

Death. It's so hard for our culture. Maybe it's hard for humanity in general. But for us, it seems a taboo. I work in a world painted with death. We meet and support grieving families all the time. Words are hard to come by as you companion someone through grief. I don't want it to be like that for my kids. I have talked openly about death with them. Perhaps too much. My daughter thinks it will be a happy day when she gets to join her dog in heaven with Jesus and Papa Chippy. Maybe I got a little off track talking to the kids about death.

I read a very neat article about death the other day. Long before I knew we would be grieving for my father in law. It talked about energy, and the famous scientific discovery that told us that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It just changes form. I believe this. I don't know what to think about reincarnation but I do believe our energy fills hearts, makes flowers bloom, makes babies smile and makes the world go around. Dust to dust.

Over the past week full of tears, laughter, loving words, loving jesters, and manifestations of the lessons we have learned from Chippy, I have come to remember (because we always KNOW this but sometimes lose track) what really matters. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves. These connections we make with others, the choices we make despite of ourselves, it's about love. I know. How cliche. But it's true. We are not on this world to see who can collect the most toys. We are not on this world to see whose people will be the most powerful. We are not on this world to simply enjoy taking from the earth and pilfering from the loss of others. We are here to teach and to learn. To better our souls and shape the souls of others through love.

And if you have any connection with a younger generation, you had better take it to heart. We have major control over the future of this world by how we teach and learn from these little people. Empathy, integrity and generosity. That about sums it up. We need to put these three ways of life in the forefront. I am afraid we are loosing ground. These should be bedtime lessons on a daily basis for our children. These should be dinner time topics across the table (which we all should be sitting at with our kids NO exceptions). These should be ideas adults talk about and demonstrate. Ah...another part of a fitness quest. Making our hearts fit. Making our lives matter. Things seems a bit less complicated when you have your priorities in place. Interesting how a death can energize those of us still alive. Did I mention energy cannot be destroyed? It just changes form.

I am sorry? Did you think you were going to read this post to see how my weight loss is coming along? Have you ever been in the midst of the death of a family member? In southern Virginia? When we can't find the words, what's the next best thing? Yes. Sugar, butter, pork and beer (or wine). Food plays a big part in grief and death. When I do my job, I often have to remind people to care for themselves and don't forget to eat. I have never had the problem of forgetting to eat. I ate plenty. I think I gained two pounds. I don't give a hoot. Sharing a plate of snicker doodles with those you love does a fine thing for the heart.

However, I am back home. I go back to work Monday. Tug is already back today. As we teach lessons of high moral character, we also must remember to take care of the temple that carries our soul for now. I want to be able to turn cartwheels, play soccer with my kids, and hear them laugh as we fall on the grass this Spring! It's right around the corner! Baseball, camping, green grass. Ah! Get me out of this house and the company of those I love while I bask in the sun! There is a place for creating healthy bodies in "what really matters" so that we can teach and learn longer, and have some fun while doing it.

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