A Time For All Things
The past week has been one of the most intense ones for my family. A family member’s health took a turn for the worse and my brothers and sisters came home in an expression of love and support. It was a time for family. We came together, happy to see each other. To help relieve the stress of the moment we shared a few laughs. If anyone looked they probably would have thought we were simply having a family reunion because it was time and not because of circumstances.
Our family member needed immediate surgery and we needed a time for prayer. One of us started and we each got an opportunity to express a hope, a fear, a desired outcome, or a belief that things will workout. Some of us referred to our loved one’s condition as something evil that must be eradicated. Some of us were adamant that this was a time for a miracle. Unfortunately, our prayers did not result in a happy ending. The surgery was ineffective. We are now experiencing a time to cry and a time to mourn.
Along with everyone else I wanted to believe that everything would be okay and we would go home knowing that all would be as well as expected. As we sat as a family in the room waiting for some word about the operation, we were confident and sure. We were cheerful and buoyant, silly and playful. But all too soon our sister walked through the door and the tears in her eyes silenced everyone in the room like nothing else could. My heart sank. Before she could say anything several of us replied with our own tears. The news could not be good. It was time to put our silliness aside.
It was a time to plan. Some of us didn’t want to face the reality of the moment. But we did not have the luxury of more time. It was a time to decide. Decisions had to be made and we had to make them as a family. It is still very much a time to come together.
It was a time for me to reach into my spirituality. My family is deeply rooted in various forms of Christianity and I was participating in their belief system, my old belief system, out of a sense of solidarity with my family. It was time for us to be as one.
Sometime after the surgery, I asked Orisa for some help. Babalu Aye, the Orisa of health, said that he could not change the outcome. But we could make things easier by sharing the pain and discomfort of our loved one’s condition. No one should have to bear the sickness alone. If we all took a small piece of the pain away, we can dilute the pain enough to make it much more tolerable. Our family member deserves our help.
I participated in the Christian ritual of prayer with my family. Even though I haven’t been a Christian for years I still participated. So I asked my family if they would consider doing something for mom that is rooted in my belief system. I asked if they would take time to do something that I believe would help. I explained that fate may not change but we might be able to dilute pain and discomfort if we all were willing to share a little of the pain coursing through one’s body. We could show our willingness to help by doing something as small as eating popcorn in our loved one’s name.
It was a time for questions. Why popcorn? How can this work? Why would I want to do that? Because it is part of my belief system and I believe it will help. I can’t explain the spiritual mechanics of it. This is just part of my belief system. If we all are willing to take away some of the pain, share some of the burden, I believe our family member won’t have to suffer through this bearing the brunt alone. It was a time for trust. It was a time to step out of comfort zones and do something strange.
Some of us stepped right up to the plate. Somebody pulled out a bag of microwave popcorn and started going to town. It was a time of support. Others refused. In their opinion it wasn’t time for such nonsense. It may have been a time for disappointment, but I had no choice but to respect their choice.
Like everything else that has comes our way we will face it as a family unit. It would be nice if family learned a time to compromise so that we can try every thing at our disposal to face our life challenges. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. We are still a family. Not all of us are open to new ideas or to respect other’s belief system. That might come in time. I know I’m willing to do just about anything to help family. Even if it means coming together to support my family with their belief in prayer at a time when not everyone is ready to support my beliefs as well.
However, now is definitely not the time to write our family member off. Whether we have just a few more days or whether we have a few more decades we will be hurt whenever time is up. That time is not right now. We have things to do. There is a time for all things. But now is not the time for that. Now is a time for living. A time to die will come soon enough. No need to rush it along.