As a member of the Disaster Spiritual Care Response Team of the American Red Cross there have been many testimonials I have heard and read from countless volunteers. Most testimonials are a grateful witness to simply being there with the people in the midst of their suffering and loss.
Well, after being there on Staten Island for two weeks post "Tsunami Sandy," the memories that sustain me are those made whenever I let go of my agendas and let come their agenda. Often, often, often it was listening without the urge or need to give a reply or response. What I discovered was that most of the suffering was caused by not having someone there to listen this way, in the silence where nothing can be immediately fixed or solved, only touched by being there.
All five of these souls lost everything, yet when I listened to them share their grateful witness of Mother Nature's fierce power and this fragile life we are given, I was reminded of a blessed simplicity that too often goes unnoticed and thereby untouched and unaccepted by many of us busy souls. That is when it dawned on me, life is really all about waking up and noticing who and what is present in my physical, psychological and spiritual sensations. How may I learn to be there and notice that it is all too swiftly passing away? If I learn to notice, perhaps I may accept that it is as it is for a blessed simplicity, grace upon grace.
Please comment and share what and who you notice. How have you learned to accept life as it is right now? Thank you!
~ Father Matt
St. Luke's Episcopal Church