Sunday, December 16, 2007

580. May her memory be for a blessing

So I have been here but not here for the past few days. On Thursday a beloved member of my community died very suddenly, a woman I didn't know well but who became a part of my life from the very first time we met. How can someone be present even when you don’t see her, actions and soul rarely interacting with your own yet reverberating loudly just the same? H. gave freely of her home, time, prayers, laughter and opinions, all with a New Yorker’s edge and a mother’s endless compassion. There are many, many wonderful people around who help create a better world. Some make sure you know it, which is fine—goodness trumps ego. Others hide in humility, and I wonder how much more they could achieve if only they would let themselves shine. I think both ends of the spectrum are fueled by insecurity about one’s place in the world. A rare few, like H., are able to struggle and achieve with faith and confidence that the seeds of their rewards are in the actions themselves. If you want love, seek it out, return the favor without any fuss and then enjoy, fully and completely, the family and friends who embrace you back with the force of a tidal wave. Over 500 people attended her funeral, and each of us had a personal connection—and, I suspect, were visited by H. in our dreams that night just as I was, awakened every few hours by the shock of emptiness. We were not close friends; I can offer only the briefest of anecdotes. But the joy and tears she let us share, the deeds of goodness, charity, endless curiosity and compassion she modeled make me want to be just like H. when I grow up. May her memory be for a blessing.

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