It’s almost 10 pm (lights-out and silence). We had a long day starting at 6:30 am, a blend of monastic activities (meditation, chanting, eating, working) as well as course work. Today’s focus was on chaos theory, intervening in systems, how to dance with change, and so on. Our teacher was Dr. Merle Lefkoff who’s worked in the White House under President Carter and has worked for 30 years mediating in such conflict situations as Bosnia, Israel, and Palestine.
Yes this all links to chaplaincy–whether in hospices, prisons, communities–as the work takes place within systems of various kinds, be they families, tribes, faith communities, medical teams, and NGOs, right up to hospitals, funding agencies, donors, government agencies, public policy, and the prevailing world view that prefers to avoid talking about death and funding the care of people at end of life.
We haven’t shared a poem for over a week. I found this yesterday when I still had time for pleasure reading. It’s the opening of “To One Shortly To Die” by Walt Whitman.
From all the rest I single you out, having a message for you,
You are to die–let others tell you what they please, I cannot prevaricate,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you–there is no escape for you.
Softly I lay my right hand upon you, you just feel it,
I do not argue, I bend my head close and half envelop it,
I sit quietly by, I remain faithful …
source: Vest, J. (1996)(ed.). The open road: Walt Whitman on death & dying.Mesa, AZ: Four Corners Ediction.