This past weekend was the Fall Equinox. It is one of two days during the year when everything is in balance, the light and dark. Wherever you might live, we all receive the light equally; twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark. To observe this day, for years I have been hiking various mountain peaks to watch the sunrise. Waking up early while it is still dark and then ascending a mountain, is balanced with seeing the sunlight and then enjoying the hike downhill. Balance of all things.
Saturday and Sunday of this fall equinox weekend, this balance of “light” and “dark” was very profound for me. We live in a secluded cul-de-sac with wonderful neighbors. When you live in a circle, you tend to have closer relationships with your neighbors then if you live on a normal street. This past Saturday, on September 21, our neighbor to the right gave birth to a baby girl. The baby was born at home, two weeks earlier than expected. When new life enters the world, it is beautiful. There is renewed hope for humanity. The location is sacred especially when the baby is born at home instead of a hospital. Life and Hope.
The following day on Sunday, September 22, our next door neighbor on our left went out for an evening bike ride. He never arrived back home. He was tragically killed after being hit by a car. A father of four, his sudden death is tragic. Death and Tragedy. In my life, this fall equinox was not only a balance of light and darkness, but also a balance of life and hope, with death and tragedy.
These two extremes of birth and death is a reminder of our mortal existence. It is a reminder that our mortal life can be interrupted at any moment, and we can be called home. Thus.. Live every moment as if it was your last. If you do, death does not have to be a tragedy. The birth of the newborn is a reminder that there is always hope of new life and new beginnings.
In a related story, a few weeks ago I received a late night call around 11:00 PM from our elderly neighbors who live a few houses down from us. The wife called for help with her husband who has Alzheimer's. He had fallen and needed help to get him back into his bed. He has declined rapidly this past year and he will more than likely be receiving hospice care in the next month or so. The husband has a difficult time talking, and can no longer remember who people are as well as he can no longer control a lot of his bodily functions. After helping him back into his bed, the wife walked me to the door. She wanted to tell me of a special experience that had just happen when their daughter came to visit earlier that day. Their daughter no longer attends church and doubts many things pertaining to God. While the wife and daughter were on the couch talking, the husband who doesn’t communicate very much began to speak. They turned to look at him. He had tears rolling down his cheek, and he exclaimed, “It is so beautiful, I have never seen anything as beautiful as this”. At that moment, my neighbor had passed through this thin veil of mortality, and “bore testimony” to the reality of what awaits us on the other side of this telestial hell. His time is not yet, and returned back into his aged mortal tabernacle.