Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba: But, dad, don’t we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
This conversation between father and son has rolled around in my brain for the last few weeks. Not quite sure why, but it’s there. Balance and connection. For reasons I cannot pin point, it made me think of my grandmother who passed away last August. I have recalled odd bits and pieces of conversations, things she said that made me laugh, things I said that made her laugh. For example, I used to tell her that I am her most favorite grandchild. She challenged me on that statement a few months before she passed,
“Are you sure you are the favorite?”
I responded with all confidence, “Yup!”
“How do you know?”
“Because I just told you, Mum. So, you can’t say you didn’t know I was the favorite!” She laughed and shook her head, but she didn’t tell me that I wasn’t the favorite. That was enough confirmation for me! The truth is, if she had a favorite grandchild, she kept it a carefully guarded secret.
A particular memory rose to the surface today as I listened to the audiobook, Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. Todd Burpo described trying to persuade his 3-year-old son to drink the vile tasting beverage provided by the technician prior to the cat-scan being administered. In an instant, I was in the room with my grandmother as she was about to get her cat-scan. She was nervous about being in the machine and the noise it made. She didn’t want me to leave her. So as the rest of her body was guided into the tube, the tech left enough of her legs extended outside of the machine, so I could hold on to my grandmother’s leg, giving her a little comfort. I said something I cannot recall to make my grandmother laugh. She relaxed and before we knew it, the test was over. That happened roughly seventeen years ago. Today, I almost burst into tears thinking about it. I stopped the audio book and took a deep breath. There is no crying during work hours.
Yesterday, I shared with my mother and daughter how much my grandmother used to HATE when I watched Star Trek: Next Generation. I loved that show as a teenager! She would go into a rant as soon as she saw Lieutenant Worf’s rippled forehead appear on the screen! “Laaahhd a mercy!! How you watch dat hugly sumting so? Hits heeevilll,” she would declare in her Jamaican/British accent. And she did not stop fussing until I changed the channel to something more to her liking. That memory had me in stitches.
As my friends post stories about the loved ones that have passed, I think about the “great Circle of Life.” When loved ones pass away, even if we were not around them everyday, the lack of their “being” changes our landscape. They will visit our memories at the oddest of times. Whether you laugh or cry over the memories is not the important thing. Remembering is the important thing. As cliche as it sounds, they are still with us everywhere the light touches our lives and sometimes in the shadowy places where we should not venture, but still do occasionally. The memories keep us balanced; remind us of the living we have yet to do and that what we do, and say, and create shapes the landscape for the next generation.
So, today’s lesson is not so much of a lesson as it is something to ponder: How will your life contribute to the landscape?