We stand

March 16th, 2012 by Jan

vigil |ˈvijəl|
1 a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, esp. to keep watch or pray : my birdwatching vigils lasted for hours | as he lay in a coma the family kept vigil.
• a stationary, peaceful demonstration in support of a particular cause, typically without speeches.
ORIGIN Middle English (sense 2) : via Old French from Latin vigilia, from vigil ‘awake.’

My friend Rosie has a farm with sheep and right now they are birthing the new lambs. Except one of her ewes seems stubborn. This lamb is so big with the life inside her, she looks like she might burst. But everyday the report is the same — no lambs yet. Rosie stands vigil waiting for life to begin.

Ken is still in Nebraska. It’s hard. He is the type of man who is best when he is “doing something.” Right now, what he’s doing is the same as Rosie, only he stands on the other end of this cycle. Ken stands vigil with his mother right now, he stands waiting for the life that gave him life, to end.

Life begins and it ends on its own time.  To stand in witness is our duty and honour.

4 thoughts on “We stand

  1. Jenny

    Bearing witness. It’s an elusive concept, and, dare I say, not the norm in our North American culture. I began to grasp the profound gift found in the simple act of bearing witness while visiting my dear friend during his many years of incarceration.

    At a bolted down table in a sterile unadorned space seated face-to-face, we did just that. For one another. The blessing flowed in both directions. And then we went back to our lives; Poncho to his 6×9′ cell; and me, to my life on the other side of the fence.

    Through that uncomplicated grace-filled time, we both found new freedom: freedom from our messy histories and our own inner demons. It was an unexpected gift for us both and it changed us forever.

    To Ken and to Rosie; standing in witness; standing in life.

  2. Laur

    “A wild patience” what a wonderful set of words. I’ll add mine to that and with some added holding and clearing for both you and Ken and to his Mom as she lives through the last of her journey here. Love to you as you are tending to Ken from afar.

  3. Kathy

    I think of Ken as he does this very hard job right now. The patience required and the “hurry up and wait” can be excruciating – a bittersweet time. I know. I also salute you as you hold down hearth and home without him. I know this is not your comfort zone. Love to you both. xoxo


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