Friday, April 8, 2011

The Voice that Wakes

A boat that glides through the water creates a soft, rolling wave. As a kid, we used to swim off Sanders Beach in my home town and hope for those kind of waves, especially if we were on floating rafts. The wave would saunter into shore, rocking us to and fro while the sun beat down on our youthful bodies. It was like being rocked by Mother Earth. Then there are the wakes created when a boat moves at high speeds through the water. Those waves are high and choppy and exhilarating. It's not so much the waves are risky, its the speed of the boat. I thought about this analogy when a very dear friend of mine shared the turmoil of her cousins whose mother is dying 3000 miles away from their homes. A life of choosing "high speed fun" over a more thoughtful gentle ride created a destructive and painfully difficult wake in the mother's path. Her children are trying in vain to cope as she sits at death's door.

My inspirations come to me in pictures like "wakes" and caused me to reflect on the kind of wake I'd like to leave when I exit this life. I do not want to live my life in such a way as to leave a choppy slapping wave behind me. I want a gentle rocking and rolling wake at my wake. Being human is such a messy job and few if any do everything well. I don't know how to escape being human but I can stop long enough to reflect on how my actions will be held in the hearts of my family, friends and acquaintances.

Today most memorials are celebrations of life. I like that idea. I like the idea that while I have lived an imperfect life that in the end even my imperfect actions may be interpreted as effort on my part to do the right thing or make the wrong thing as right as possible. Sometimes we cry for the loss of a loved one; other times we cry for what was lost in the life we shared with that person. A very dear friend of mine suggested that we all die as we have lived and that makes so much sense to me. I want to be be honest when I ask myself that question. Life is a two sided coin and, as I always say, cannot be cut to one side. I just hope that my coin has value for those I love. I no longer seek an impossible perfection; I pray that those I love will come to understand my intent. Finally, I am hopeful that my "wake" will always leave a trail of love for my well-meaning heart.

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