25 August

Celebrating The Embrace Of Life

by Jon Katz
The Embrace Of Life
The Embrace Of Life

Of all the statuary in the cemetery where we walk, I think I love this one the most, I call it the embrace of life.It is the child reaching out to the mother for understanding and love.

Our mothers hear us or they do not, they fight for us or they do not, they protect us or they do not, they set the templates for the emotions of our lives.  We all experience fear and disappointment, we will lose our dogs and cats, our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, we may fall ill or see our friends fall before us, we sigh at the struggles and sorrows of the world. We may take a walk one day and find ourselves in a hospital, fighting for life. This is not the end of life, not a lament, not the bad hand we are dealt,  it is life itself, the beginning of understanding and acceptance.

We are never alone in pain, loss or death, it is the universal experience, one thing we share with every living thing on the earth, the thing that makes us one. Death and loss is not a surprise, it is our nature, fate and destiny. It is what it means to be a human being. I will not speak poorly of the the life that happens to me, or of my life, my life is not a struggle. Every day is a gift for me to make of what I will.

Of all of the species in the world, we are the only one who understand the meaning of death, who know that we will die.  What will we make of this wondrous and terrifying understanding? Will be surprised by death and struggle every time we face it, rage against it, or acknowledge both as being as natural as the wind and the sun. The Quakers teach us to celebrate life, and rejoice in every part of it, it is all a gift. One chapter is as beautiful as another, if we are open to it. When I woke up from my surgery, I saw an angel standing in front of me, the light behind her was blinding, she was a beautiful silhouette, like my statue in the cemetery.

She called me to embrace life, to get up and walk, to meet my face and throw my arms around it, and bless me for being a human on the path. She wrapped me in light, and put a cloud under my tired feet so I could walk, and she leaned forward and touched my heart with the forefinger of her right hand, and called it to life.

And this is our choice, to move past our mothers and our fathers. To create our own expectations for our lives.  To celebrate life rather than simply mourn death and loss, to seek the light after the dark, and meaning beyond the expectations of the world for us. Every day, we can affirm our own existence, find our strength, and move forward into a place of love and purpose. Our choice, every day. That is what I see in this statue, I call it the embrace of life.

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