Saturday, August 18, 2012

Amazing Grace

Minxi's father is dying.  We're at the end stages now.  When I spoke to him last night he said to that he can't eat, that he has bad fevers, and finally just, "I am dying."   He has lived a long a noble life and I can't help him find the path but I see that he understands what is happening and is dealing with is how he can.

Poor Minxi though.  She has lived with him almost her entire life and twice before when he was gravely ill, she nursed him back to health.  To her it is both very frightening and a real defeat that he is now at the end.

I called her late in the Chinese night last night, she was alone in her apartment and so filled with nightmares that she couldn't sleep.  She was angry with her brothers who won't pay for more expensive hospital treatments, with her niece and nephew who want to stop caring for Baba so they can go back to school, with life itself.

We talked and talked.  We talked about how all trees are geen in the spring and yellow in the fall, that this is nature.  That when one tree falls, another one can't hold it.  Its nature is to fall.  That stars burn out.  We talked for hours.

Finally, out of words, trying to help her across the threshold to peace I remembered the true story of a ship captain on a slave ship.  He was a bad man, obviously, and was always angry with his crew.  One day, his ship was caught in a storm.  His crew, afraid of dying came to him.  Angry he bellowed out something like, "If it's God's will, then we will all die."  Something changed in him when he said it though.  He looked around him, saw the size of the storm, the size of the sea, and how small his boat, his anger, his life really was.  He understood for a moment the size and power of "God's Will" or "The Way" or whatever it is called, and he was humbled.

He left the sea, left the slave trade and became a minister.  He also wrote a song.  Hum along if you know it:

I don't know religion, or what is right, but I know there is a peace in accepting what is larger than me. In the dark, on the phone to China last night, out of words, and needing to give my little Buddhist accountant some peace, I just started singing Amazing Grace.  Her tears quieted while I sang and at the end, from the edge of sleep, she just said, "Thank you.  Before I was so lonely."

There are so many things I am thankful for in this life, so many things I don't understand, but today, I am most thankful for Grace, and that no matter what religion, what culture, anyone can touch Amazing Grace.

Thank you.

No comments: