Life Flows On

This weekend, we’ll go to Charlottesville, Virginia, to celebrate what would have been my son Thomas’s 30th birthday at his favorite hang-out, Michael’s Bistro. Then we’ll return to Charlottesville in two months to mark the first anniversary of his death.

Our lives have changed dramatically over the last 10 months. Buddhism teaches that impermanence is a pre-configured part of life, but judging from our experience some lives and some times are more impermanent than  others.

Thomas Carl Carol Cropped
Thomas, Carl and Carol circa 2007

The first task for my wife, Carol, and me was simply learning how to go on, how to relate to each other, how to relate to our remaining son, Carl, who of course had lost his big brother, how to relate to the rest of the world. We became members of that club no one wants to join — parents who have lost children. Some forms of grief are different from others. We learned to be the couple who lost a young adult son in an accident that might not have happened if he had made other choices.

I handled my grief by diving deeper into my two spiritual foundations, Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism. At the age of 69, I decided to devote the rest of my life to spiritual healing. I would continue to learn, write, speak, meditate, lead meditation groups, and do what I could to strengthen UUism and Buddhism and to reach out to those seeking spiritual wholeness.

I started blogging daily here and soon sensed Thomas with me. I realized I was not only living out my legacy; I was — and am — living out his as well. The more I read, listened to sermons, and wrote, the more my spiritual life turned to Buddhism, and I found a home in the Dzogchen school as taught by Lama Surya Das.

While all this was going on, I sold my business, my wife and I decided to downsize, and on March 12 moved into our new home. My blog output has been nowhere near daily as we sold our old home, prepared for the move and now try to find our socks and important papers and get the remaining work done on the house. But I do love it here.

Our next-door neighbors to the east had their first child just after we moved in. The next-door neighbor to the west has two small children. Across the street, a family with slightly older children plays basketball together in their driveway every day after school.

Blogging daily has become an important spiritual practice for me, so I’ll be back on schedule once we settle in and I catch up to my life. In July, I’ll be doing my second retreat with Lama Surya Das. I hope to live long enough to become a teacher in his spiritual family.

And life goes on, impermanent and beautiful.

Hymn: How Can I Keep from Singing

My life goes on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it’s music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

Oh though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
Oh though the darkness ’round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
How can I keep from singing?

Lord, how can I keep from singing?
Oh, how can I keep from singing?

 

— Mel Pine (Fearless Lotus)

Copyright 2016 © Mel Harkrader Pine

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sonya Kassam says:

    I wish you, Carol and Carl well. Your inner strength is very evident from your writings. May your dream of becoming a teacher be fulfilled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. melhpine says:

      Thank you, Sonya.

      Like

  2. Phyllis L Hubbell says:

    Oh my goodness, Mel. You have me in tears. What a touching, inspiring and,I’m sure, healing article. I’m going to send it to my uncle and a friend, both of whom lost people to suicide. What a blessing you are offering to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. melhpine says:

      Thank you, Phyllis. My blog has helped me heal, and it’s my dream to help others as well.

      Like

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