Thoughts on Value

Sakura

I like waking to sunlight streaming through my window. I like to think of it as Heaven’s way of saying good morning to me. But there are times when the mornings aren’t good, and the rest of the day doesn’t really improve, and the evenings, sometimes they are like capstones on a grave.
But to live is to wakeup everyday, and to wakeup is to wakeup to reality – the parts we enjoy and the parts we don’t. The past few months, since I moved out, I have gotten into this habit of just lying on my bed and staring at the metallic form of a fire sprinkler on my ceiling. Every evening before I sleep and every morning, I take some time to stay this way, staring up, lost in my thoughts – and there’s a forest of thoughts to get lost in. Maybe that’s why my hair grows out in all directions, like extensions of my dendrites. Anyway… One of the thoughts I’ve been thinking about is the idea of “the end”. Not necessarily death, but the conclusion of something. Everything ends. Everything has an expiry date. Everything has a limit. But let me share a simple thought I had when visiting my friend Mark’s mother on her last days at Medical City. I’m hoping it will help you as much as it has helped me. Early one morning, I got a call from Mark asking me if I could ask my dad to pray for his mom. She had been fighting cancer for many years, praying, getting healed, improving, relapsing, and suffering again, but always in faith, and always with that peace beyond all understanding. My dad couldn’t go so I went instead. Mark is a friend, and his mom, Tita Charrie, is an amazing woman. I had visited her before when she could still talk, and she was always very engaging and hopeful. But that morning, when I walked into her room I knew something was very different. Her family was not there during the short period that I visited, they had to do a few things but were on their way back, so it was just Tita Charrie, the nurse, and I. My heart sank leaving a hollow feeling on my chest. And through that pit drained the little faith I had left. I thought to myself, “God, how could you let this happen? Where is the reward of faith? Where are the answers to prayers?” I couldn’t bring myself to pray, it just didn’t seem like any of my petitions would be answered anyway. So I sat down on the bench beside her bed, and leaned my head on the wall while I gathered myself. As I turned my head, to my right, sitting on the window ledge, I saw a tiny light violet clock. On its face was its brand: SAKURA. Sakura. I recognized that word. I had encountered it many times on my trips to Japan. Sakura is what the Japanese call Cherry Blossoms, and every year thousands of people go out to see the Sakura in a tradition that is locally known as Hanami or “flower viewing”. They celebrate because the Sakura, the Cherry Blossoms, represent spring. New life. “Open your eyes, David. New life.” I like how God can get His word through to even the most stubbornly deaf of people – people like me. He knows exactly what to say and He knows exactly how to get your attention. So I leaned forward, put my hand on her leg, and prayed a simple prayer, because the complex ones seem to be beyond me, “Father, bring new life to this situation.” I can’t forget how she turned her head to look at me, smiling through the tube in her mouth, she lifted her arm slightly and waved. Looking back, she was probably saying goodbye, saying it the way we do to friends we know we’re going to see again. I left that morning reminded of what Tita Charrie always knew, that even as the seasons change and bring many things to an end, because life and all it contains is fleeting, there is a Spring that ushers in new life, an amazing life without end.