Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rob Base, Matthew 25:1-13, and a Busy Week

If we played a game of free word associations, I'm not 100% sure what song would come to most people's minds if I said, "Rob Base," but I suspect that "Joy and Pain" might be near the top of the list.  I don't often quote Rob Base in the blog, but the lyrics of Joy and Pain make me think of contrasts.  This has been quite a week of contrasts.

On Monday, I found out a graduate of the PhD program with which I am most closely affiliated had been killed in a horrible car accident on Sunday morning.  Throughout the week since then, I have been finding out about how many people I know either knew her better than I had been aware of or were "one level of connection" away from her and still had heard incredible things about her.  Her loss is an incredible loss to many.  The only good that I can see that might come out of it is (possibly) getting people to make a contribution in her memory.

On Tuesday, I got to meet the sister of a beloved colleague who passed away (also suddenly and unexpectedly but of natural causes) last year.  She was at the honors and award ceremony that our school holds each year to meet the first recipient of the scholarship named after her sister and with criteria for choosing the recipient that reflect her sister's interests.  After the awards ceremony I had a sobering conversation with a fellow faculty member remembering the former student I mentioned above.

Today was the graduation ceremony for the school of public health.  An incredibly happy day to celebrate students who just completed the studies and their work.

Joy and sorrow going back and forth all week long.  And finding ways to seek joy despite the sorrow.  When a friend from Back on My Feet did not show up this morning and had not responded to an email yesterday, I reached out.  Not that I expect every email to be answered quickly and everyone in BoMF to make every run.  And, not that I imagined that something very bad had happened.  But after having all the emotions surrounding two colleagues' passing (even if one was a year ago the memories all came back as we celebrated her memory), I just had to reach out.  It turns out that my friend was just catching up on email and had not felt well this morning, but it was good to know that for sure.

So, with all this about contrasts, why do I think of Matthew 25:1-13?  Well, that is the story of the ten virgins. They were waiting for the bridegroom.  Five had brought oil.  Five had not.  The five who did not went out looking for some but the groom came back while they were out and they got locked out.  The lesson was to stay awake as we know neither the day nor the hour.  The sudden passing of two wonderful, full of life, amazing colleagues within 16 months of each other is a reminder that "we don't know the hour."  We should stay awake.  In the Bible, it is about staying awake with respect to our relationship with God.  But it carries over to the rest of life and we should stay awake to the importance and fragility of our relationships with others.  And cherish every moment of them.  

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