Reluctant Spirits

by HemmingPlay

A woman I know,
a believer, told me
she saw angels hovering
over our house.
I can’t see them, but
it wouldn’t surprise me.

Sitting by your bed
through the long nights,
feeling you slip away
a bit at a time as the cancer
races through you,
I like to think the
angels are gathering,
waiting to welcome
your remarkable spirit home,

A tear escaped your eye just now,
and you couldn’t speak.
Breathing is so hard.
The words are just a whisper,
as though coming from
an enormous distance.

I don’t know why dying is this hard.
The spirit in us, our connection
to the Infinite, is
so reluctant to leave this life.

Shouldn’t it gladly
rejoin its source,
the Ground of Being?

But it holds hard to this body, this life
and endures great suffering.


Some sects believe this world is Hell;
suffering is proof
they’re right.
Others have no answer,
so fall back on
“it’s God’s will.”
Neither likes the word “Why?”
(The fear of that word is revealing.)

Watching you now, in my pain
at losing you,
the pain of watching your suffering;
seeing your sisters grieve,
watching friends weep knowing
a special light is passing…

I have an idea why we cling to this life.

Growth has no cost, no purpose unless
there is something to lose.
In this physical realm
loss is a daily reality.
Existence is without meaning
unless it can all be taken away.

Longing, pain, desire, hatred
jealousy, fear, greed and, yes, love,
are challenges to the spirit,
bathed in the body’s chemistries
and ancient roots. It gets complicated,
but is a stew brewed patiently through five
billion years of solitude,
on this curious living rock,
spinning in the void of
infinite distances.

Ignited by the spirit’s quest
for meaning,
Incarnation offers
what is not available
without this blending of spirit and flesh.
Creation requires constant
knowing. God is always learning.
We are always learning.
We spend our years here, learning,
and take it with us when we leave.

Time suddenly means something
when death is an ending.
Two can become one, making
depth and meaning and sacrifice real.
It all has meaning.

I listen to your breathing,
watch your spirit fight
to stay another day,
another hour. I pray the suffering
will end, but would not shorten
your time by a tenth of a second. That’s
up to you. Only you know when
your task here done.

I’m here. You are not alone.
Your life had meaning.
Being here made a difference.
You have blessed others with your spirit.
And when you are gone we will
only be sad for a little while.
We have more to learn, after all,
and time grows ever shorter,
here in the seductive land of deadlines.


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