Within two days, two requests. One from a family asking me to “say a few words” at the interment of ashes of a former hospice patient; the other from a lawyer asking that I meet his client who is near death and desires spiritual support. Two (extra-)ordinary opportunities to be of service.
Not that long ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be asked, never mind agree to do it. But ever since working at hospice I’ve lost all fear and self-consciousness. Not a moment’s hesitation; it’s become a sacred duty. Not responding would be withholding a gift that freely resides within me. If I can make even the smallest dent in the suffering of others, I respond without hesitation. Wouldn’t you?
May I be . . .
A guide for those who journey on the road,
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.
From an 8th century text written in India. (1997). Shantideva: the way of the bodhisattva. Boston: Shambala, p. 51. image: i took this photo shortly after a family had scattered ashes into the lake. Thirty minutes later the water was clear again, with only a faint outline of ashes at the bottom.