It's always amazing to me how no matter what you read or watch, whether it is a silly movie or a brain candy novel, when you need it, you find something there you need to hear at that particular moment. So it was last night. And yes, of course, it comes from Master Yoda:
Careful you must be when sensing the future ... Fear of loss is a path to the dark side. ... Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. .... Train yourself to let go, of everything you fear to lose. - Yoda, Revenge of the Sith
The reality of my life is that I spend a lot of time pondering and praying about the future. That is because I dearly love my religious community and I believe in the future of religious life and our CSJP charism with all my heart. And yet there is our demographic reality. Our median age is over 75, so aging and even death are part of that future. Loss is part of that future. Letting go is part of that future ... and our present.
I found out this week that one of my most dear CSJP Sisters is facing her last days. It was a very sudden illness. She's certainly not a spry young Sister, but she is a woman of depth, wisdom, caring, compassion, and real presence. She has been a leader in our community in so many ways. Just last week I received a letter from her which, as it happens, was speaking about our future, of which she too deeply believed, and she was inviting me to share my gifts and perspectives as we face the future with gratitude and hope.
It is of course so hard to be away from community at times like this. Yet, while I may be thousands of miles away physically, I am with my CSJP community in thought and prayer. As we say in our community directives:
All in community show concern for the sick by visiting them, praying with and for them, and by attending to their needs with loving care. When the call of death comes to a sister, the community accompanies her with their prayers and, whenever possible, with their presence to render sisterly love and support in her final moments.Sister love. What a beautiful phrase. Love is not easy. Loving someone means, eventually, letting go as they return to God (or in Yoda speak, transform into the force), as we will return to God one day.
Back home, Sisters, Associates, and friends are indeed staying with her around the clock as she awaits her return to her creator. One of my CSJP Sisters texted me yesterday as she was leaving the hospital. I had texted her yesterday when I knew she was going and asked her to tell our Sister that I was praying for her. So, even from across the miles, thanks to technology, I was there in both spirit and action if not in physical presence. Waiting, praying, and loving.