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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

L'chayim (to life)

How much loving have you done?
How full and free your giving?
For living is but loving
And loving only giving.
(GD Johnson)

I suspect that some relatives may have left Ken's funeral a little disappointed at its lack of ritualized morbidity. But those of us who knew Ken at all, recognized that he would want the last laugh, and so through the solemnity and grief of our farewells, we celebrated. There was a party to be had.

Still, there is nothing light hearted about such a loss-- and in the living, the loving, and the dying, there was much provocative thought spawned. Who are we really but who we love? And those who love us in return? And in that rhythm, no lack is found. The wealth in caring always warms us, and opens our eyes to the hurt in others. Our loss can not be recovered. Still, we huddle, and strength is found in widening our circle to embrace every person who Ken loved.

Ken's memorium read:

Do the ordinary in extraordinary ways,
Do the extraordinary in ordinary ways.

Let this be my shrine for Ken.
May I not busy myself caring for my children to such a frenzy that I do so without CARE.
May I go about my employment as the means to living my life with fullness of giving and not to fuel the desire to GET.
May I eat to live and never LIVE to EAT.
May I be willing to stand alone.
May I not strive to make myself small and powerless.
May life and love have the last laugh, and may we have God's power in us to kick at death and darkness and wherever we go, to leave that place a little brighter.

I am reminded again of Nelson Mandela's powerful speech, and because he says it so well, I will conclude in his words, and not my own.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


svea said...

Beautiful, so beautiful, a beautiful tribute to life and a well loved brother. let's keep living!!!!!!
ps-thinking about you lots hugs and love to you

andrea said...

Wonderful post, Joyce. Strangely enough, I really needed to re-read Mandela's speech on this very day. Thanks.

Carlotti said...

Beautiful beautiful post Joycie. Once again, it all comes down to the power of love. May we all be blessed with ample amounts of it, and enjoy its power.

Love you sis.

Homo Escapeons said...

Nothing to fear but fear itself.

lettuce said...

powerful and moving words - not just Mandela's, but also Ken's memorial, and your shrine.


Ruth said...

beautiful post.
beautiful you.

Cherrypie said...

It's because those beautiful words are not JUST mere words, but an expression of you that you will never have to stand alone x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these brave and joyfully rebellious words, Joyce. I will treasure them. You might be interested in this curious fact, though: the gorgeous speech attributed to Nelson Mandela is not his. I pulled the following information off a website.

"It [the speech about power] is widely misattributed on the Web and elsewhere to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural address. A quick search through that very speech (also full of splendid quotable prose) on the ANC's official web site confirms that the quotation isn't there (URL below). Nor is it to be found in any of his other published speeches.

The actual author of the quotation is Marianne Williamson. To be precise, it is from her 1992 book, "Return to Love" (hardcover p. 165, paperback pp. 190-191):

Just to be extra sure that Mandela never quoted it in another speech, I wrote to the ANC ( asking about it, and their representative Duncan Harford confirmed my suspicions"

This does not lessen the force or vivifying beauty of the speech; but we might all want to read this book by a woman life- and word-wizard!


Laura said...

Just read this in it's entirety( spell check, where's the spell check on this thing?)today. I might print and frame this one. Powerful. The first time through I just skimmed it and got stuck on "I will eat to live, not live to eat." One of my issues right now.
Grace. We meet again. "The only person who can talk more than Ken." I love the way your mind and heart work. Laura

shelley said...

I loved this post. thanks Joycie