Today’s Quote

Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pour them all out, as they are, chaff and grain together,
knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then, with the breath of kindness,
blow the rest away.

 ~ George Eliot, 1819 – 1880 ~
English Novelist

Wounded Hearts

The young father walked down the hall, each of his daughters holding one of his hands. He looked to be in his thirties and his daughters, perhaps 3 and 5 years old. They were dressed like little princesses – dresses with skirts that puffed out, patent leather shoes and white socks with embroidered flowers and ruffles. Their mood matched their father’s – quiet, determined, serious. It was almost as if his energy flowed into theirs and they became one. You could barely hear their footfalls in the long hallway, the lowered lighting bathing them in softness from behind.

Late at night, a special visitation, they were on the Trauma-Neuro floor of the hospital where I worked. They were on their way to see their wife and mother.

In her thirties, she was in her prime – physically fit from the bicycling that was her passion. Each year, she bicycled several times a year for different charities that were close to her heart. Today’s was for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where they provide care and find cures for sick children at no cost.

Late at night, a special visitation, her husband and two daughters were on their way for a visit.

Earlier that day, as everyone was packing up and leaving the successful Bike-a-Thon fund-raising event, the young mother was struck by a small panel truck that barreled through an intersection without brakes. Med Evac flew her to our trauma center. But it was too late… In spite of all that modern medicine had to offer, massive head injuries left this young wife and mother brain dead. Her family was here to say good-bye before she was removed from life support.

When gathering her things together before her family arrived, I looked at her driver’s license, seeing her smiling eyes and the words “Organ Donor” stamped on its front. She would still be giving of herself after death, and several of her organs were already designated to people across the country.

Late at night, a special visitation, her husband and two daughters were on their way to say good-bye.

As I watched the small family enter her room, I couldn’t help but think of all that she would miss of her daughters’ lives – kindergarten and grammar school, getting their driver’s license and experiencing their first kiss, senior prom, graduation, college and another graduation, their weddings, the births of their own children – gone forever in an instant. A tragedy unfolding in the privacy of her hospital room…

Trauma-Neuro was always quiet at night; those with severe head trauma were often kept in a medically-induced coma while their brain swelling was monitored. I walked toward the only other person near-by – a young resident who had been looking at the wall of monitors behind the nurse’s station. He stood still, staring off into nothingness. Tears welled in his eyes.

I placed my hand over his clenched fist that rested on the counter.

“I shouldn’t be like this,” he ground out without even looking at me, wiping a stray tear from his cheek with his free hand.

“How can you not be?” I offered quietly. “You’re exactly the kind of doctor this family needs right now.” I hesitated. “You’re exactly the kind of doctor medicine needs.”

As he dropped his chin to his chest, I felt his fist relax, as we stood together, both hearts weeping.

I heard a muffled “thank you” and looked up to see the young family standing just past the nurse’s station. The man’s eyes filled with tears, he slowly turned and walked away, his back stiff as he held his girls’ hands. As they walked down the hallway, passing through the shadows, a soft light bathed them in a familiar shape – wings??? – before they exited through the door.

Sacred ground.

Time stopped. A mother who bicycled for charity, breathing with life support until her family said good-bye and her organs were harvested; two little girls in ruffles and bows, their lips quivering with an unnamed fear; a young husband and father walking toward an unthinkable future in agonized disbelief; and, a physician who now understood that not all stories have a happy ending and that sometimes the simple one word question – “Why?” – is so terribly vast and complex that any acceptable answer defies human comprehension.

At that moment, I heard the soft strains of Brahms’ Lullaby echoing from the hospital’s public address system to announce the birth of a new child in the maternity wing.

As one life ends, another begins in the eternal cycle. An ending to be mourned and a beginning to be celebrated. Second chances made possible by the gift of life from a selfless woman.

I celebrate all of you for coming into my life – the mother and father, their daughters, the doctor…and yes, even the new baby. I keep you in my heart awash with blessings.

Interconnected. Circles of Compassion. Circles of Grace.

Today’s Quote

When we honestly ask ourselves
which person in our lives means most to us,
we often find that it is those who,
instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds
with a gentle and tender hand.
The friend who can be silent with us
in a moment of despair or confusion,
who can stay with us
in an hour of grief and bereavement,
who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing
and face with us the reality of our powerlessness,
that is a friend who cares.

 ~ Henri Nouwen, 1932 – 1996 ~
Dutch-born Priest, Writer

A Blessing of Angels

A Blessing of Angels
by John O’Donohue

May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.

May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
to come alive to the eternal within you,
to all the invitations that quietly surround you.

May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds into sources of refreshment.

May the Angel of the Imagination enable you to stand on the true thresholds,
at ease with your ambivalence and drawn in new directions
through the glow of your contradictions.

May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes to the unseen suffering around you.

May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
 where your life is domesticated and safe,
take you to the territories of true otherness
where all that is awkward in you can fall into its own rhythm.

May the Angel of Eros introduce you to the beauty of your senses
to celebrate your inheritance as a temple of the holy spirit.

May the Angel of Justice disturb you to take the side of the poor and the wronged.

May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you in worth and self-respect,
that you may live with the dignity that presides in your soul.

May the Angel of Death arrive only when your life is complete
and you have brought every given gift to the threshold where its infinity can shine.

May all the Angels be your sheltering and joyful guardians.

Thoughts for My Son on Mother’s Day

Call Mom.
Pick your battles.
Be kind.
Thoughts matter.
Breathe.
Count to five before you speak.
Look beyond what you see.
Don’t judge.
Rescue an animal.
Keep your word.
Give back.
 Be present.
Apologize.
Give thanks.
Choose your words with care.
Dance to your own music.
Character matters.
Listen with your heart.
Honor your family.
Respect your elders.
Share.
Play fair.
Be honest.
Remember where you came from.
Root for the underdog.
Volunteer.
Be charitable.
Keep the faith.
Look people in the eye.
Mean what you say.
Follow through.
Be a good example.
Listen.
Color outside the lines.
Smile.
Purple glitter makes everything better.
Feed the birds.
Remember that squirrels like birdseed, too.
Be compassionate.
Enjoy thunderstorms.
Talk to animals.
Pray.
Be true to yourself.
Visit other countries.
Try your best.
Put in an honest day’s work.
Forgive.
Hold fast to your beliefs.
Patience really is a virtue.
Nothing is random.
Follow your moral compass.
Never give up.
Ask for advice.
Reach out to others.
We’re all in this together.
Admit when you’re wrong.
Offer a firm handshake.
Laugh with gusto.
All things in moderation.
Good will always triumph over evil.
Life isn’t fair, but that’s okay.
Give good hugs.
Don’t lose hope.
Be passionate.
Seek the truth.
Look within.
There is meaning in suffering.
Listen to the birds each morning.
Don’t forget the sunsets.
Go sailing.
Smile.
Surround yourself with color.
Hunt the Northern Lights.
Water your flowers.
Plant a tree.
It will be okay.
Every ending is another beginning.
Write real thank you notes.
Cuddle.
It’s okay to say no.
Sing to babies.
Remember those who have gone before you.
Take your hat off inside.
Offer your help.
Say thank you.
Don’t take it personally.
There are many levels of love.
Don’t hold grudges.
Be a gentleman and a gentle man.
Avoid toxic people.
Tip well.
Look to the stars.
Lose yourself in the clouds.
Stop for all rainbows.
Take the road less travelled.
Be well.
Remember that Mom loves you.

You are my greatest blessing.

Today’s Quote

A LIFE WISH

May the days and years ahead of you be filled with

OPENINGS

 that you may sense clearly the path you choose to walk;

VISION

 that you may see, search, and dream without limitation;

SENSITIVITY

that you may hear and follow your inner guidance,
discern when to act on behalf of yourself and/or others,
and when to simply be and let be;

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

that you may taste the fruits of success; and,

POSSIBILITIES

that you may discover what you want and need,
know who you are, give to others of your heart’s joy,
have the courage to stand for your own convictions,
and believe in yourself no matter what.

~ Raphaella Vaisseau ~

The Lost Choice

From “The Lost Choice” by Andy Andrews

“I made you different from the others;

on the planet earth, there has never been one like you…and there never will be again.
Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your ability to reason – all exist in no one else.
Your eyes are a masterpiece, incomparable, and windows to a soul that is also uniquely yours.
 A single strand of your hair has been created especially for you. Of the multitudes who have come before you,
and the multitudes who may follow, not one of them duplicates the formula with which I made you.

I made you different from the others.

The blood that flows through your veins flows through the heart of one whom I’ve chosen. The rarities
that make you one of a kind, my child, are no mere accident or quirk of fate.
 I made you different in order that you might make a difference.
 You have been created with the ability to change the world.
Every single choice you make…every single action you take…matters.
But remember, the converse is true.
Every choice you do not make…every action you do not take…matters just as much!
Your actions cannot be hoarded, saved for later, or used selectively.
 By your hand, many lives will be altered, caught up in a chain of events begun by you this very day.
But the opposite is also true as well.
 Many lives are altered, caught up in a different chain of events, if you choose to wait.
 You possess the power of choice. Free will.
You have been given everything you need to act, but the choice is yours alone.
And beginning this very moment, you will choose wisely.

Now go.

And never feel inadequate again.
Do not dwell in the thoughts of insignificance or wander aimlessly, like a sheep.
You are powerful.
You matter.
And you have been found.
You are my choice.”

Your Father

Promise Me That You Will…

Be kind to yourself.
Look in the mirror and see that you are beautiful.
Make three wishes.
Be strong.
Nurture your soul.
Continue your prayers.
Let go of any pain.
Banish any anger.
Take one moment at a time.
Hear music.
Make music.
Seek inspiration.
Learn.
Believe in fairy tales and in the magic of your dreams.
Find that dreams do come true.
Hug yourself.
Feel the sun shine.
Believe again.
Smile.
Seek laughter.
Always remember that you have a guardian angel watching over you.
Find hope.
Find your true love.

Promise me these things.

~ Linda Ann McConnell ~

The Last Lecture – A Legacy

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch

October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008

“How to live your life well?
Remember…
it is not the things we do in life that we regret…
it is the things we do not.

Find your passion and follow it.
You will not find passion in things;
that passion will be grounded in people
and the relationships you have with people,
and what they think of you
when your time comes.”

May 2008 Commencement
Carnegie Mellon University
Author of “The Last Lecture”

Visit Carnegie Mellon’s video of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

Last Lecture

Today’s Quote

The ABCs of Life

Accept differences.
Be kind.
Count your blessings.
Dream.
Express thanks.
Forgive.
Give freely.
Harm no one.
Imagine more.
Jettison anger.
Keep confidences.
Love truly.
Master something.
Nurture hope.
Open your mind.
Pack lightly.
Quell rumors.
Reciprocate.
Seek wisdom.
Touch hearts.
Understand.
Value truth.
Win graciously.
Xeriscape.
Yearn for peace.
Zealously support a worthy cause.

~ Author Unknown ~