Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mortality & Reality

The past week was one that reminded me every day of our mortality. The first day of the week we heard that one of our teachers has passed away. He retired 2 months ago and deserved far more freedom than two months. Still reeling from that news, I received a phone call from my son to tell me that a friend of his has been diagnosed HIV positive. And still disturbed by that news, I’m told of the death of a young person from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Such sad situations for young people and such a loss of a good man in the teacher. To make these situations even more thought provoking, all this is happening at a time which has often through the years, had the school in a state of shock with the loss of one of our students, usually in car accidents.

All this got me to thinking of how none of us thinks it will happen to us today, and of course it seldom does, but all this in one week did make me meditate on the blessings in my own family, the friends I have, the part of the world I live in, and my more often than not, normal daily life!

The photo attached is of a life size metal tree. It was started by one of our students. But before it was finished, he was killed in a car accident. Between the metalwork teacher and his girlfriend, it was completed and installed in the school courtyard as a memorial. At first it was all silver, freshly welded and shiny and didn’t really look very natural. But with time, it has weathered, rusted, mellowed and begun to fit beautifully into its environment, becoming a warm tribute to the student who began the project. I would imagine the pain of loss for the family members will do the same eventually, but I think it’s thought-provoking how this school art project keeps this student in our minds just as much as the memorials on the side of the roads in our area, but in a much more positive and pleasant way. Instead of remembering only the tragedy, we remember what he was like and what he enjoyed. I hope someday my art will serve the same purpose for those I leave behind.