Monday, August 11, 2014

It's all about love

I've told you before how much I love Rachel Naomi Remen's book My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging. Remen's warm and compassionate style comes through as she tells stories from her own life and from the patients she has seen through her years as a physician.

In one chapter she talks about living with perfectionism and how it can get in the way of life and relationships. One of her patients who had been a perfectionist all her life, now ill with cancer, told her, "There is so much more to life than a perfectly clean kitchen floor, Rachel." Remen points out that in some cultures, artists weave some imperfection into their work as a reminder that wholeness is different from perfection. She goes on to say, "There is often more wisdom to be found at the edges of life than in its middle. Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards. ... Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride. Most often the top card is love."

Indeed. I'm sure when we reach the end of our days, we won't think about the fact that our kitchen floor wasn't perfectly clean or our closets were messy. And we won't even think about the Hummel collection we gathered through the years—or the lovely clothes we have hanging in our closets. We'll think about those we love, those who have gone before and those whom we'll leave behind. It really is about love!

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