Endings

It is August. It is hot.

Time to pause and think a lot.

Can't be running all the time,

Just need to sit and write a rhyme

Life goes on and on and on for periods of time. Rather stable and predictable. We go to work and school, watch our favorite TV shows. Pizza on Fridays, Soccer on Saturdays. Then BAM! A cog in the wheel snaps and the whole damn apple cart tips over and the fruit spills in random directions leaving us scattering to put it back to order. We are born, we live, and we die. So do our goldfish, dogs, and best friends. You know, the old saying, things happen in "threes". the Holy Trinity, clover, Morning, Noon and Night, and deaths.

I wasn't intending to pick a dark topic for August. It's just that nothing else jumped into mind, and now I am under the gun to produce, so here we go. July, as is every month, was action packed. We lost Walter Cronkite, Michael Jackson and Farrah. A bit closer to home, we had to put down our beloved dog of 15 years, Aki, one of our festival goldfish (which we have had for about 5 years) went belly up the next day, and less than a week after that, one of my husband's lifelong friends lost his battle with Leukemia.

We knew Aki was on her way out. But making that decision did not come easily. We don't really know what exactly, besides old age, caused her to become incontinent. It got to such a state that we couldn't bring her into the house anymore. She began to lose weight and was having trouble getting up to eat. We decided to let her go with some dignity. My husband, daughter and I took her to the vet and she went very peacefully. It was too much for poor hubby. We had Aki longer than our two youngest children. Knowing it was coming didn't ease the pain.

The goldfish was rather unexpected and random. It actually jumped out of the bowl twice in the past month. This never occurred in the past 5 years. What was it trying to flee? One morning it was done. The other fish swam, seemingly oblivious, in the fouled water. It is the lone survivor of the 5 original festival fish.

Jim's death was not completely unpredictable, as he has been battling Leukemia since 2002. I don't know all of the details but seems he went to see the doctor for an eye infection, and learned he had Leukemia. He had some very aggressive treatment, none of which was effective, until the last bone marrow treatment, which took. He bagan to heal, and made it out of the City of Hope. Fortunately, he had Mary by his side to nurture him back to health. He had a few good years and then it came back with a vengeance.

We were all secretly hoping that Jim would be able to beat it again. He certainly died trying. I was lucky enough to get to talk to him on the phone for about 30 minutes a couple of days before he died. He sounded so hopeful. He talked about how he wanted to go to Hawaii, and he mentioned that he wanted to become an Usher at the church he attends. He asked about the kids and joked that it was time for the twins to start driving already. He was clear and coherant, but I could hear death in his voice. I have heard it before, when I lost my childhood friend to Ovarian Cancer. She was only 30.

Some endings are difficult to accept. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme, reason or rhythm to them. But with every ending comes a new beginning. We will miss you Jim, Aki, and Goldie. To wrap up, I am going to share the poem on Jim's prayer card:

I'm Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free

I'm following the path God laid for me.

I took his hand when I heard Him call

I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay for another day

To laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks undone must stay that way.

I found that peace at close of day.

If my parting has left a void

Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow

I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life's been full, I've savoured much,

Good friends, good times,

A loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time see all too brief,

Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.

Lift up your hearts and share with me

God wanted me now:

He set me free.

EPICTETUS

“ Of all existing things some are in our power, and others are not in our power. In our power are thought, impulse, will to get and will to avoid, and, in a word, everything which is our own doing. Things not in our power include the body, property, reputation, office, and, in a word, everything which is not our own doing. Things in our power are by nature free, unhindered, untrammeled; things not in our power are weak, servile, subject to hindrance, dependent on others. Remember then that if you imagine that what is naturally slavish is free, and what is naturally another’s is your own, you will be hampered, you will mourn, you will be put to confusion, you will blame gods and men; but if you think that only your own belongs to you, and that what is another’s is indeed another’s, no one will ever put compulsion or hindrance on you, you will blame none, you will accuse none, you will do nothing against your will, no one will harm you, you will have no enemy, for no harm can touch you. Enchiridion,1.

(Matheson translation)

What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.
Epictetus, Discourses

When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?

Epictetus, Discourses

Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as at a feast.
Epictetus

Control thy passions, lest they take vengeance on thee.
Epictetus

First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Epictetus

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
Epictetus

If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase.
Epictetus

: If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: 'I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.' When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods.
Epictetus

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
Epictetus

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.
Epictetus

Only the educated are free.
Epictetus, Discourses

If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.
Epictetus

If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these for to whatever point the perfection of anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it.
Epictetus

If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.
Epictetus

If you seek truth you will not seek victory by dishonorable means, and if you find truth you will become invincible.
Epictetus

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.
Epictetus

If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.
Epictetus

August 3, 2009
Next Post date: September 7, 2009

VALUE OF TIME

To realize
The value of a sister
Ask someone
Who doesn't have one.

To realize
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
Divorced couple.

To realize
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.

To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
who has given birth to
A premature baby.

To realize
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize
The value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident...

To! realize
The value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when

you can share it with someone special.

To realize the value of a friend:
Lose one.

The origin of this letter is unknown,

Peace love and prosperity to all

EPICTETUS

All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.
Epictetus

All religions must be tolerated... for every man must get to heaven in his own way.
Epictetus

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
Epictetus

Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee.
Epictetus

Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.
Epictetus

Do not laugh much or often or unrestrainedly.
Epictetus

Do not seek to bring things to pass in accordance with your wishes, but wish for them as they are, and you will find them.
Epictetus

First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Epictetus

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
Epictetus

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.
Epictetus

Freedom is the right to live as we wish.
Epictetus

God has entrusted me with myself.
Epictetus

He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses though he be not drunk.
Epictetus

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Epictetus

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