A tribute to Joshua
If you have ever witnessed the miracle of childbirth, you already know it is an awesomely beautiful experience. To be gifted the opportunity to watch the first minutes of a being's life outside of the protection of it's womb-its "creation space", as I like to call it in this moment, is the epitome of a life-changing blessing. As a mother, I would like to believe that the particular moment in time when you meet the child you have been carrying for what seems like forever, is one of the greatest moments of one's life.
However, even as I attempt to believe such a thing, my heart beckons me to dig deeper-to examine the realities of life just a bit more. I am guided somehow to the notion of our human need for love-not just the idea of the butterflies in your stomach type of feeling, but of true, committed love that enhances the very essence of our being.
In my digging and search for my personal definition of love, I close my eyes. For the first time in my entire life, the very act of closing my eyes and being one with my internal self is translated into the memory of my very personal encounters with death. It is no secret that death-especially once we reach a certain age, becomes a more frequent, unwelcome visitor to our lives. Furthermore, for folks like me, we learn to acknowledge death before we really know it. We see it coming, brace ourselves for it, and begin the healing process-taking on all steps of this cycle as smoothly as most folks take on breathing. Death, therefore, becomes a series of pit-stops in our lives that we are accustomed to, but only open our hearts to at times when it comes knocking-seemingly because we have no other use for engaging with that part of the circle of natural life.
Yet, the epiphany that I am to share with those who care to listen, whilst it may seem unfounded, is well merited in its justification. Whatever supernatural element of the universe which in my faith I chose to acknowledge as God, seems to lead my moment's reflections back to a reality of life that I have disfavored for so long. In a moment of questionable tears (where I believe many of the human cohort of souls find themselves)- pondering the challenges of relations and love, as if serendipitous, I close my eyes to reflect. However, instead of hearing the light of immediate revelation, I see the darkness of death.
I am shaken, but in such a moment, my maturity leads me not to run, but to close my eyes tighter and to feel-to feel the lesson that my God has come to teach me.
As I weep, I think back to my witness of a loved one's final moments here on earth-a gift which without my knowledge, changed my perception of life. I reflect on the quiet moments of eternal transition-watching a person whose life as they know it is ending. Seeing a fellowman relinquish the little control of his worldly struggle is a phenomenon in and of itself. Eyes closed but 'flickering'-as if watching every frame of a life lived, for the last time.
It is at this thought that I hear a nearly audible voice ask, "Who is in your last frame?"
Here, is where I find my definition of love-the one that set to rest any doubt that has attempted to rear its head amidst challenges. A definition that I feel without a shadow of a doubt was delivered to me by both God and ancestors-a lesson that once shared, has the ability to strengthen weakening covenants.
With my eyes closed in such a moment of transcendence-- in my memory of witnessing active death, I replace the memory of my loved one with myself. Somehow, I am granted an imagination that propels me to an enactment of my last moments. I can feel my spirit tune in to the darkness that I see reflected off of my internal shell.
I quickly realize that my last frames have yet to be written-that I will not experience my life "flashing before my eyes" until my appointed time of transition. However, I am granted one gift. I know what it is immediately because I weep-my entire being knows it the moment it comes to me. Although there is nothing else but a feeling, one thing is clear.
I see him.
I see the man who knelt beside me, praying and holding my hand in my moment of emergent fear.
I see the man who gets on my nerves every now and then because he does things differently than I would.
I see the man who works tirelessly to provide for his family.
I see the man who loves me even when I don't love myself.
I see the man who sees me the way I am, and still chooses to entangle himself in me.
I see the man who coached me in those precious hours to push life into the world.
I see the man who I know now without a shadow of a doubt, was made for me.
So, death, now, is adorned with my respect. For it has affirmed and confirmed me and my love.
With such a revelatory gift, I am compelled to share with my generation that love does not always act the way that we would. It does not always present itself in a manner that is in step with our stride.
Love does not always wrap itself in roses and walk in laughter. But it is still love.
When you find it, fight for it.
When you have it, cherish it.
Remember that one day, our last frames will play out in the cinema of our fleeting minds and it would be a shame if in our last moments on earth, we sorrowfully realize that the main character intended for our life's film was cut out at intermission.
As for me, I will continue showing up at rehearsal-learning, and developing my love script.
Because my last act is out of this world.
I love you, Joshua.