My Life Story
Listening to it, learning from it
I began learning to live at 10 years of age when my life stopped. Being diagnosed with childhood cancer I learned very young what it meant to live in the moment. Thanks to amazing caregivers, doctors, family, and prayer, I lived through years of challenging treatment. My awareness of life was heightened and my gratefulness enhanced. I began a prayer practice with no outside discussion, I told no one. This practice provided me great comfort and peace as I traveled my path.
I followed the family route of business after college. I often felt an urging for more. On my business trips I always packed a multitude of books on spirituality, life, and meaning. My learning to live continued to grow. Then in early 2000, while whitewater rafting, I had a near death experience and this changed everything.
Facing death gave me the courage to step out of a very successful career to pursue theology. Learning to listen to that deep nudging I experienced in my meditation time that was pushing me to follow a new path. I decided to become a spiritual director and started graduate school. I was called to walk with my mother-in-law who was suddenly facing end of life. This was a sacred path. She faced her death with great openness and curiosity. Just days before she died, she shared this: ”I am going to teach you about death, dying. I am ready and not afraid.” This experience was soul shaping, life altering, and sacred. Within a year, I enrolled in Clinical Pastoral Education, became a chaplain, and then an ordained minister.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals. —Kahlil Gibran
In the past dozen years I have companioned four other family members who have died. Each passing has opened a different sacred path. Each experience caused a deepening of my soul, a calling to go inward, and a greater understanding of life, love, and faith.
At Fairview Hospice, I companioned hundreds of people in the dying process. Each person told their unique story and took their own sacred journey. It was an honor to walk with each person. It was a privilege to give comfort and peace. And I never failed to walk away with more than I gave. The common truth among all patients was the desire for love, and the love of those closest to them. Helping patients let go of what no longer serves them and open themselves to what lay ahead is always a profound joy. Everything people take for granted drops away, everything you think is important fades to nothing. Love is all that matters.
We are all called to keep opening and unfolding.
In thirsting for the fullness of life, our heart thirsts for the light that lets us see life’s meaning. When we find meaning, we know it because our heart finds rest. —David Steindl-Rast