There he sat before me, fragile and incoherent.
I was sharing a meal with a friend who in recent years has demonstrated signs of mental health issues negatively affecting his life. Even after years of therapy, health choice changes, and psychiatric treatment, the respected and gifted friend I knew was visibly and increasingly falling victim to the degradation of his mind.
We ate and said almost nothing.
The silence provided food for reflection as I pondered the frailty of the human condition. For this friend represented not a unique nor small population–but a generous slice of the world’s population, who through physical or mental disabilities disables them from the power, recognition, and abilities of those who lack such disabilities.
It isn’t so much asking “why?” as I have learned over the years the search for such answers are often futile and do not change the immutable facts that 1) God is good and 2) conversely, we are humans-permeable, finite, and fading.
But it is to remind us that they are there, they are with us, they are part of our community, and despite the world’s best efforts to distance the rich and powerful from the weak and lowly, we are not much different. We are similar beyond belief.
I, like many, am a driven person. Full of dreams, capabilities, talents, and amibitions. Our church environments can often carry these victorious mindsets.
We are ready to conquer the world!
But this day, a look into my friend’s eyes informs me again of my finiteness.
We are not as powerful as we think. The reality of death provides a certain reminder of our temporality and it looms over all our pride, ambitions, and achievements.
We are like dust. Like a fleeting thought. Like the morning dew. Like a flower in the field-here today and gone tomorrow. It is the nature of our humanness, the inevitability of our being.
Yes-we are all frail and dying.