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Thursday, August 7, 2014

30 Day Journal Challenge, Day 7, What does this mean?

Lisa's inspirational quote today is simple:  Go gently. 

I choose the simplest one of her prompts on that theme: 'Going gently, for me, means...'

My immediate thought is, someone famous has said something intriguing on that subject, and I look it up.  It's a Dylan Thomas poem that begins:

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  (
quoted in the spirit of fair use)

It is Dylan Thomas, who reportedly wrote this in a villanelle, written as his father lay dying, a poem that says to me it's ok to be angry about faculties declining as one nears the end of life.  An exhortation to push back against analogy, at least in my mind, to the way outdoor flowers seem to bloom their hearts out as the summer ends, and fall sets in in earnest.  Or is it an intense, urgent encouragement -- to give it your all, not give up, never say die?

While that's not exactlyl what going gently for me means, I could definitely imagine a gentler way of dying, of helping a person live through their last minutes.  Gently asking about pain, about soothing, about kind memories and soft singing, favorite songs, happy, peaceful memories shared, scripture, song...a hug or a chip of ice...the presence of someone who cares...

Or going gently might simply mean tiptoeing around a nearly-sleeping baby, turning the radio or tv down when others are otherwise engaged nearby.  Saying, Let me help you with that, or presenting flowers or an unexpected gift, thinking before speaking, slipping into a seat at church in the last minute, walking back to the pew after communion...Sitting still to listen, look, be mindful of whatever is nearby in time of space: silence, people, art, music, wind in trees, shadows on buildings, shapes and colors of plant and flower, song and swoop of bird.. Thinking before speaking.  Going gently....

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