We Owe so much to so Many
“I’ll never know the identities of those people we interred in the St. John’s memorial garden. But I think I know something about them. I suspect that their final act was a sacrament, a representative symbol, of the way they lived their lives. In the end, they gave away everything: the eyes that had gazed upon their children, the hearts that had loved, the arms that had embraced…Indeed. At the last, the people in that memorial garden gave everything… I suspect they lived as they died, giving the all of who they were in life for the interest of others, in recognition of the profound grace in their lives.”
“Giving Everything to God”, Sunday, October 1, 2017 / The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson , God in the Midst of the City
Barkley Thompson, the dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston wrote on his blog recently about a relationship his previous church in Roanoke, Virginia had with the Medical College of Virginia Tech. At the end of their spring semester, the first-year students and their faculty came and interred in St. John’s memorial garden the ashes of those who had donated their bodies for anatomy classes for the students to learn about the human body. The moving service of prayers and thanksgivings was prepared by the medical students.
I wish I had been part of a similar service when I finished my medical anatomy class. Four of us learned anatomy from a thin African American woman. We knew nothing about her or her age. I know of two others who have donated their body to science as did my father. I say prayers for all four of them today.
I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for those who have taught us about the human body by giving of themselves. I think of all physicians, all of us who owe so much to those who gave us our foundation by giving of themselves. But this is true about so many others in the other parts of our lives. We all owe so much to those who mentored, supported, loved us, living and dead. Our minds, on the other hand, want to obsess and be haunted by those who did not help us and may have harmed us.
I know as long as I stay in this place of gratitude for those who helped me learn about the person God created me to be, I have a chance of offering a part of myself to others. This is the way we honor those who did the same for us.