As we opened in a prayer in unison, doubt fluttered in my heart like the beating wings of a bird trying to escape containment. I worried about offending those from different faith traditions. I worried about appearing anything less than sincere. I worried that my stomach would lodge in my throat and my voice would be swallowed up. I worried. And then I looked up again at those faces; at smiles, and tears. The fluttering stopped as once again I understood the beauty of what I'd been asked to do. It is an honor to lend a voice to those too sad to speak, and to rightfully celebrate one who had no resources for a service otherwise.
As usually happens, even those who didn't think they could possibly come forward and share a memory stepped up. There were stories. There was music. There was laughter. There was a message about love, delivered by me but written only with Spirit guiding my hand and heart. There were more prayers, and by this time there was no worry. Love had triumphed once again. Love knit together this group of mourners, and allowed them this time to reflect on their work. Love guided their hands to create beautiful photo displays of the woman's life and to provide a hearty collation afterwards. Love held me still when I thought of wiggling out of the request for a service. It reassured me that I had time. It challenged my fear through its insistance that it was right and just for this woman to have a service.
After the service, my former supervisor came over and hugged me. "I can't believe you're still doing this." she remarked. "There's such a need for it, and you're so good at it, but I don't know how you find the time. I'm glad you do. Maybe you missed your calling..you should have been a minister." I looked at the faces in the room again. I thought of the places my heart has been. I've worked in homes like this, I've bathed and dressed and bolstered people. I've advocated for them as a service coordinator. I've hugged, cajoled, cleaned up after and comforted. I've taught yoga and breathing. I've led grief groups and services. I've taught and I've learned. I've laughed and cried. I've held the hands of those who are dying, and offered reiki to those who are struggling with living.
As I close the physical doors of my studio this weekend, I am once again at a crossroads. I have grieved the loss of this space in a very physical sense. I've mourned, (I'm embarrassed to admit) every "last" down to the last time I'd need to purchase paper towels and toilet paper for the studio! I have ached and hurt and beat myself up for not being more business savvy. I start to feel those wings beating in my chest again as I worry about failing and about providing. I worry about whether I've been too impulsive. I wonder what it may have been like to have stayed still. To have remained in a state job. To have known the security of that. I wonder what it may have been like to have listened to a different calling. And then the fluttering stops. I look out across a sea of faces in my memories and know that I haven't missed my calling. My calling has nothing to do with title or profession. It is to love, and I've done that well.