The Things We Say

Hanging out with God can make you think about your own mortality. Of course, there are other things that can get you thinking about your own mortality, too.

Take email for example. This week on the same day I received two emails from friends. In one of them I learned that a couple I know are on the verge of having to live out of their car. They actually manage to sound reasonably upbeat given their circumstances. They lost their house early in the mortgage crisis, they’ve been out of work for many, many months, they’ve moved from one temporary situation to another again and again, and yet they still find things to enjoy in life and manage to communicate that in their email updates. I am in awe of their spirit and zest for life.

In the other email I learned that a dear friend I haven’t seen in a couple of decades is in the final stages of cancer, to the point where they’ve had to give up on treatment and move to hospice care.

It’s times like this that we say things like “count your blessings” and “there but for the grace of God go I.” Unlike most people I got the chance to ask God what she feels about little homilies like these. She told me that for a fairly intelligent species we can say an awful lot of really stupid things.

I have to agree. But beyond muttering trite aphorisms, this is one of those times when you have to find something to laugh about, because if you don’t laugh you’ll have to cry. Unfortunately, I’m not laughing.

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