Monday, February 21, 2011

Every Single Blade of Grass

We were up in Maine visiting family this weekend, and I learned that a family member of another family member by marriage is most likely dying. Of cancer.

He was at the birthday party we were attending on Saturday. His face had a gray pall. He looked much older than the last time I had seen him.

Dan's grandmother mentioned that she had talked to him during the party, and in that conversation he had said quite frankly, "You know, something like this happens and you look at the world in a completely different way. Every blade of grass, every snowfall looks different."

That reminded me of years ago, when I worked for the Big E that one summer. Lou, the guy who printed all of their newsletters and brochures, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. We stopped seeing him and learned he was home and could no longer leave bed. For the first time in years, he could not make it to the fair. He knew he was dying, but his friends said he would lie there in bed, too dizzy to walk, and simply gaze out at the maples beginning to turn color. "They're so beautiful," he would say with an otherwordly gratitude. "They are so beautiful."

I thought about those things as we drove on winding back country roads in Maine. I gazed out at endless fields white with snow, dotted with red ramshackle barns, and meandering streams completely frozen over. I thought about what it would be like to more fully appreciate the slant of the sun in the late afternoon and the shadows the light drew everywhere. I wondered why it is so darned easy for us to lose all sense of perspective...and why so often only tragedy of some nature has the ability to make everything more clear and real.

The more I thought, the more I realized that truth was both troubling and comforting. There was something gratifying about knowing that the most horrific thing that could happen to a person could somehow spark a realization of all of the beauty in this world...in the people around us. Something about that brings sense to the senselessness. Something about that reminds me that we are all part of a bigger picture, a bigger story, one that will be infinitely more beautiful and magnificent than our momentary troubles.

I thought this as we drove and the sun set. Every single blade of grass, I kept thinking, kept reminding myself, as the miles rolled by and the sky, full of jet contrails and blue and then gray, slowly became night.

1 comment:

rhemashope said...

this is beautiful.

your writing is so descriptive and you have put into words something so hard to articulate.

thank you for the reminder.

i was just thinking earlier that we know the "end of the story." what a comfort.

"No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him..." 1 Cor. 2:9 (The Message)