Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses,
Not that you might never need regret,
nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed,
When hope can scarce shine through.
That every gift God gave you might grow with you
and let you give your gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name,
whom you can trust and who helps you in times of sadness,
Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you and for all who care for you.
This is my hope for you now and forever.
--Traditional Irish Blessing

I was thinking about a certain personality I've seen in laboratories for my entire career.

Every hospital lab has at least one. Here's kind of the stereotype:

Female laboratory technologist or pathologist, older, they range from a little quirky to somewhat crochety to downright difficult at times. Either never married, or was married once to a total SOB and finally divorced him; never remarried. Sometimes there are grown children in the story, or grown nieces/nephews/peripheral relatives who sponge off of them. Totally, TOTALLY seem married to the job. Many times the rest of us are not even entirely sure WHAT they do outside of work. They retire--sometimes a little later than they ought to, and when you never see them again, you, on occasion, worry that they have no life.

Sometimes that stereotype is true.

But more often than not, you discover a surprise.

Time passes and they die. You go to the visitation or the funeral, thinking, "I ought to go; for all I know, there won't be 15 people there." You've been telling people how sad and boring and lonesome their life must have been. It's a pitiful story.

But then you walk into the funeral home or the church, and the place is packed. A lot of them are people you don't know, or people you had no clue knew the person...and in chatting with folks, you discover they had an incredibly full life. Just one totally outside the realm of work, and they were just incredibly good at keeping their work life and their outside-of-work life very separate. You look at the pictures on the "memory board" and you find they had traveled to places you never knew they'd been. You discover things about their past you never knew. You find out things like they were a master gardener or a ranked bridge player. But, since it was never "work," and they were so dedicated at work when they WERE at work, they just didn't waste time with idle chit-chat about such things.

For a while, this knowledge is uplifting; you're pleasantly surprised.

But then you feel sort of ashamed of yourself after a few days...because you realize in all those years of knowing them, you never took the time to find these things out when you worked around them. You wasted a chance to discover an interesting life.

I was thinking about that when I watched the video above, because it reminded me about how God's presence is among each of us sometimes.

All this time you thought they were lonely, and it turns out you were the one that was the "isolated" one.

The line in the prayer above about wishing the recipient to feel God in every hour of joy and pain reminds me of the quote by Desiderius Erasmus, "Bidden or not bidden, God is present."

Just as the quirky techs I've met over the years had an entire life that was always there, whether I saw it or not, the presence of God is always there in each of us, whether I see it or not in others, or whether I feel it or not within myself. I thought of that in a different way drinking my coffee outside the other morning. This really great gentle morning breeze was blowing. I thought to myself, "You know, the air is always here, all around us. But it's only when the wind blows that we bother to acknowledge it."

Just as I have experienced that initial pleasant surprise at the funeral home, I get a similar surprise when I have "discovered" the presence of God in a place I've never seen. But that initial discovery is also often followed by the similar, and sadder, realization that it was there all along, and I never bothered to see it, or ask about it, or be joyful in it. How much of our lives do we waste "not noticing?"



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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