Dying to sing

A Friend in our Meeting has been told he has only a few months to live. He's in his 70s and it's not too much of a surprise. The depth of ministry and emotion in Meeting today wasn't really a surprise either. He has always been a voice of reason and compassion, deeply knowedgeable about the bible and spiritual writings, and a wonderful sense of humour too. Just before receiving the prognosishe volunteered from his hospital bed to be part of a working group to deal with a very contentious issue in the Meeting. He feels like one of the pillars of our Meeting to me and it is sad that it's time for him to go.

His approach to life, and people's reaction to him are reminding me a lot of my mother. Living with Cancer was something she did for 9 years. She was never dying from it, she chose to live. And when it came time to die she did that properly too. She did it with a full sense of awareness, and compassion for those around her.

In Meeting today, right near the end a man spoke and sang 'Te Aroha'. Many people joined in. It is so rare to have song in our Meeting, but it felt totally appropriate, a celebration of the love for others that embues our dying Friend's life.

It made me think of a passage from The Prophet that I read at Mum's funeral:

"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

I know it is time for our Friend to go, I am sad, but I hope and believe that he will sing and dance, in whatever comes next…


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