2019 - Dec - Gazette - Humility
With the New Year around the corner, many of us are looking at our lives and making resolutions to change things for the better. I’m a big fan of this type of process; a process life gives me opportunities to engage in on a daily basis. It is an exercise in humility.
Take for example a December weekend in my family’s home. Both our daughter and son are home right now and we’re all relearning how to share the space together. On one particular day, my husband and I were out getting groceries and returned home to our kids reliving their younger years by watching the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb. In the sake of full disclosure, I wasn’t a big fan of this show the first time around, but I was a little more open when our kids were little. When I walked through the door, the soundtrack felt like noise in my head and I shared this sentiment. It wasn’t long before our son told me he enjoyed the show but when I told him how I felt, it took some of the joy out of it for him. Taking away our son’s joy is definitely not something I like to do. Life was giving me the opportunity to evaluate my actions and change things for the better. I was humbled.
Humility, humbled, humble, humbling – these are words I don’t hear people use very often in today’s world. They have to do with truth, with accepting what is happening in the moment. According to Richard Rohr, “When we accept what is, letting go of our hope for a different or better past, we are led into a much greater freedom. And as long as there is accountability and forgiveness as part of the process, healing will almost inevitably follow.”
In the situation I described, we did have accountability; our son told me how my actions made him feel and I owned my actions. Thankfully, our son is very forgiving and my belief system helped me forgive myself. Healing did follow. Obviously, this was a fairly mild situation.
Much of my work has to do with situations that are much more intense. I companion people before, during and after death, and these are often times of grief and humility, of coming to truth and accepting what is. As an end-of-life doula, I’m trained to work with others on their RUGS – Regrets, Unfinished business, Guilt, and Shame. Bereaved individuals often work on these same issues. Engaging with our own grief and humility can be a hard, long process with pain and tears. But in time, I’ve heard many people share their stories of freedom and healing. Again, it requires accountability and forgiveness. I’ve heard hospice personnel call this “enlightenment at gunpoint.” By accepting the opportunities life gives us to exercise humility each day, we can move closer to our own enlightenment.
As you look back on 2019 and look forward to 2020, I invite you to consider your own humility. Be kind and gentle with yourself and reach out for help and support, from friends, family members and professionals. Remember these words from Karen Armstrong, “Even if we achieve only a fraction of enlightenment and leave the world marginally better because we have lived in it, our lives will have been worthwhile.” I would add, it helps us live more fully now too!
And to provide you with supportive and educational opportunities, we offer the following events and gatherings:
- Monday’s Moments Grief Education and Support Complimentary Luncheon – “You Got This!” Monday, January 13 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College. Email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or sign up on the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page to RSVP by Thursday, January 9.
- Death Café, the third of Monday of the month, January 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 133 East Beaver Avenue, State College with complimentary desserts provided by Webster’s.
- Monday’s Moments Grief Education and Support Complimentary Luncheon – “Whispers of the Heart,” Monday, February 3 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College. Email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or sign up on the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page to RSVP by Thursday, January 30.
For more information about these programs, please visit Koch Funeral Home website’s Bereavement Gatherings and Events section under the Local Resources tab. All of these events are open to the public and space is limited.
We wish you a meaningful New Year!
Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.