COLUMN: Keep me in your heart for a while

Sugar Maple in November delayed in changing color

We lost 3 fine Southern gentlemen in the past week -Ed Washburn, Henry Edwards, and Robert McNair. These men were each pillars of the community and I was privileged to know them all. They each left a legacy of kindness, activism, community focus, and standing up for what is right. They all left shoes that will be hard to fill.

Sugar Maple in November delayed in changing color

Change is happening all the time — it is one of the simplest and greatest mysteries. Just as the tree leaves emerge green in Spring and then mark their departure through a colorful leaf change to yellow, orange, and brown before departing, we too are faced with impermanence.

Death, change, transition or impermanence is a constant companion. As human beings we try to cling to what was and often deny that as human beings we are faced with we are going to die.Everything we experience in life is impermanent.

Religions address this transition in different ways.  In the Buddhist tradition, one interpretation of the truth of suffering (the “first noble truth”) is that we suffer because we do not understand or fully relate to impermanence.

But does anyone really knows how things work?  The Buddha said you have to find out for yourself. Or as many of the twelve-step programs espouse, “Let go and let God.” Letting go in each moment as it moves into the next moment clues us in to the meaning of impermanence and death.

Look directly at our experiences and see first hand what is happening. Let go of your concepts, what we’ve been told is true by some wise (or not wise) person,  what our parents told us, but look with unbiased discriminating awareness.

Each of these men left examples of community mindfulness. They served something larger than themselves. We may look at their time of passing and the changes in the community they loved with sorrow or we may strive to emulate their examples of a life well-lived in making the world a better place.

Keep them and their families in your heart.