I can feel, in every moment I’ve been alive since November 7, 2017, a sense of being thankful for each day I have been alive. The gift of life is so precious. My gift, this year, as been revealed to me every morning I wake up and walk through the day. This precious human birth, so remarkable, so unique, is a gift that allows me to experience love in myriad ways.
Of course, I’m speaking here as a person who had excellent medical care in my moment of need. Many of us do not have access to the resources available to me on that blustery November day in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many of us face huge hurdles in having basic care, never mind the medical aspects of such care. Just having clean water, a place to live, food to eat, and a life not filled, each day, with the question of life or death. I am, to say it mildly, lucky in this world.
At the same time, I am always in awe of my fellow human beings and their ability to withstand the storm. Facing the prospect of death, I too turned into the storm and faced the weather as it pounded my body.
My mind is drawn to that moment, sometime around 3:00AM, November 8th, when an elderly man was wheeled into the emergency room, the doctors racing to save his life. The flurry of activity as his arms were poked and prodded, a doctor administering electrical shocks to his body as they worked to revive this man. The team of nurses and doctors worked and worked to bring this man from the brink of death. And yet, he gradually died, his heart not responding to the measures brought to bare on his situation. I heard, as clearly as I can hear the wind gently blowing outside of this room, the last escape of breath. Too, I felt the deep release of his body and his life ended.
I sat, in meditation, offering what I could to this man, laying prone on the gurney, his very essence slipping into the bardo states. I will, for the rest of my life, remember this man and the end of his life as I sat a couple of feet away wondering at my own experience. Was this my time? Would I follow this man into the dark?
Of course, as I am writing this now, I give thanks to that patient, that man who did not see another day, another morning. Not seeing the bright sunshine of Albuquerque, New Mexico or feeling the soft, clear air, blowing through this valley, mountains rising 10,000 feet, the cloudless sky revealing the truth of it all.
Tonight, with the sun descending in the west, the light playing across the Sandia Mountains, the bright pink hue the wilderness is named for spreading across the folds of the mountains. The clear, light blue sky showing me that my mind is equally clear, open, spacious. This very moment I am thankful. Completely consumed with the feeling that, whatever happens in the next moment, this moment represents love – the expansive love that exists within us all.
Happy Thanksgiving Fellow Humans