Monday, June 1, 2015


I'm feeling so sad for Joe Biden.  He's one of the few politicians whom I kind of felt I knew--a man whose imperfections were always ready to show up, and always in a public way.  Despite the seriousness of his purpose and the loftiness of his position, there seems to be something of the clown about him, something wounded, too, something deeply and affectingly human.  And now... after the loss of his first wife and daughter in a car crash, many years ago, comes the death of the son who miraculously survived it.  I can barely imagine the pain.

So strange and sad that love, the finest of our human capabilities, should be the cause of the deepest pain.  We want so much to hold on to those we love, to keep them close and safe--and yet we lack the power to do so.  When they leave us, as my sister has just done, we feel bereft.  They leave behind them a vast emptiness that can't be filled, no matter how much grief we pour into it.

And then, of course--we're only human--we wonder where they've gone.  The stories with which we seek to console ourselves for their loss, as well as for our own imminent departure from the only home we know, are many and varied.  They echo through the centuries of the human experience, bringing reassurance and hope to those who put their trust in them and, absurdly, angering those who don't, or can't, or won't.  As a great-grandchild of the Enlightenment, I inherit its agnostic skepticism and am grateful to have discovered something, in Buddhism, that answers that profound old urge without requiring me to suspend my disbelief.

This morning, in meditation, I spent a good long while directing my thoughts to whatever transition Flora's life-energy may be making.  That she set out on her journey in the best of ways gives me hope that it will be a good one.  Yesterday, on my shelves, I discovered a pair of books she wanted me to read many years ago, but it was not the moment.  Perhaps now is the time to see what she was trying to share with me...

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