Sunday, June 30, 2013

Was it Enough?

Was it enough? 

This is the question that haunts me.

Lying in his hospice bed, as he wandered through the haze of his 89 years of life, this is the question my grandfather posed - "Was it enough?" 

I loved this old man deeply.  I loved his humor, his delight in talking to strangers, his love and hoarding of chocolate.  The way he could become deeply passionate about a leaf of lettuce or a cool refreshing glass of water, but I was dismayed and angered by his insecurity. 

Was it enough?

My grandfather's life included a tour in the British Foreign Service.  He enlisted and helped to evacuate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  Princeton Theological Seminary followed and he served for 8 years as Rector of an Episcopal Church in Roxbury, Boston. During the Civil Rights Movement he became Treasurer of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) - which changed the future for so many African Americans by helping to end American Apartheid.  To this day, my mother complains about missing the opportunity to meet SCLC's Founder and President, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..  While my grandfather hosted a press conference for Dr. King at their house, my mother and her sisters were (of course) sent off to school. :(

In addition to his career, he celebrated 60 years of marriage to my amazing grandmother. He is survived by an talented brood, (including me!) - four children, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

His perfectionism was his driving force and his greatest weakness as is so often the case with us humans. 

He felt called to right the injustices that he saw in the world AND worried deeply that there was more he could and should do.

When he started to decline, my aunties began to audit his donations to the many nonprofits who solicited his support.  He was forgetful and gave every time he was asked, assuming every renewal letter was a new request for support.  He became friends with telemarketers.

Don't misunderstand.  He was a man of pleasure too. He took great pride in watching the Anglican Church elect Katharine Jefferts Schiori their first female bishop. And Obama's election to President of the United States made him weep.

His deep spirit of caring for others, particularly the forgotten and oppressed, and his desire to leave the world better was a powerful and destructive force.  He spent too much time away from family.  He became over-absorbed in work.  He missed important signals. He got sick.

Living a good life is complicated. 

As my dear friend Qui Moede likes to say, when quoting E.B. White,“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

This is the conundrum.

I hope my grandfather made peace with the fact that he was not perfect and never would or could be. I hope he also realized that his contributions mattered.  They mattered very much.

Yes, Grandpa.  It was enough.



Caryn said...

A beautiful post, and a lot to think about. Hugs to you, my friend.

Jim Siegel said...

Jocelyn, thank you for the wonderful tribute to your grandfather. May his memory be a blessing.

Stephanie Ceruolo said...

Hi, Jocelyn,
What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I am sorry for your loss - and after reading this, sorry for the loss to the rest of us, too.

Beth Tuttle said...

Johnnie was more than enough, as are you. To me he was a glass half full. He was the seed catalogue arriving in January. He was musical peal of joyful, kindness. Yet hIs ethical fiber was the scratchy fabric that prompted us to sometimes healthy shame for our own cashmere lives. The perfectionistic shade of the blood we share runs deep within us all -- a prideful, painful hue that does not always become us well. Let's not wait till we are 89 or 91 or 97 to enjoy the day. Thanks for your wonderful post. We miss him too.


MobileNPO said...

What a wonderful post! It gave me the chills. It sounds like your grandfather did some amazing things. He was lucky to have you in his life. :)

Renegade Diet said...

A beautiful post, and a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

This really is lets recycle within it's best, sweetest type. Comfort is actually an additional feature from the reusable plastic material fake chanel handbags. You've much less rubbish to get towards the suppress, as well as an additional ready-made as well as transportable space for storage within your house. As well as fiscally, the actual flexibility from the reusable plastic material tote causes it to be an intelligent purchase; rather than producing individual buys of the handbag, the refreshments container, along with a buying tote, you should buy just one fake louis vuitton sale plastic material tote in order to function numerous reasons. Additionally obtainable tend to be numerous variants about the recyclable tote style. Dining places as well as espresso homes market reusable plastic material servings, in numerous designs, dimensions as well as styles. Increasingly more chanel replica bags tend to be distancing their own recyclables in to useful plastic material storage containers, that location alongside their own rubbish ales with regard to deny pick up. As well as every day, increasing numbers of people tend to be choosing to make use of fabric handkerchiefs more than document fake louis vuitton bags, fabric shower more than document shower, and so on. Overall, reusable plastic material totes tend to be a competent, affordable as well as appealing option to traditional bagging techniques. Ought to somebody request, "Paper or even plastic material? inches state, "Reusable fake louis vuitton sale make sure you!

Alexandra Kate said...

I was   about   to   say   something   on this   topic.   But   now   i   can see   that   everything   on   this   topic is   very amazing and mind   blowing,   so   i   have   nothing to   say   here.   I   am   just   going   through   all   the   topics   and being   appreciated.   Thanks   for sharing.     

sugle said...

His post very interesting, I wait for the next post,

Helen H Jackson said...

Nice post

Happy New Year 2016 Wishes

Alexandra Kate said...

Thanks for Sharing That... Sucses for You










Ramadan Mubarak 2016 Images said...

Ramadan Mubarack Wishes Wallpapers For Download.

Eid Mubarak Images download

Ramadan 2016 Timing

Eid Mubarak Wishes In Hindi

Eid Mubarak Quotes

Eid Mubarak Greetings

Eid Mubarak Whatsapp Status

Ramadan Mubarak Images Download

Ramadan Mubarak Messages

Today Ramadan Iftar time 2016 In India

Ramadan 2016 starting from 6th June or 7th June?

Happy Ramadan Images Download

Happy Ramadan Wishes

Ramadan Mubarak 2016 Images said...

Ramadan 2016 Moon Sighting Timings.

Ramadan 2016 Moon Sighting Timing

Ramadan 2016 Iftar Timings

Ramadan 2016 Banglore Iftar Timings

Ramadan 2016 Delhi Iftar Timings

Ramadan 2016 Kolkata Iftar Timings

Ramadan Mubarak 2016 Images said...

Ramadan Mubarak Images For Downloads.

Happy Ramadan Mubarak Images Download

Ramadan Moon Sighting 2016 In India

Ramadan and Eid Hd Images Download

Ramadan Calendar 2016 Free Download

Ramadan Mubarak Images

Ramadan Mubarak whatsapp dp

Ramadan Mubarak whatsapp status

Ramadan mubarak greeting cards

Ramadan Mubarak quotes

Ramadan Mubarak wishes sms

Ramadan kareem hd images download

Ramadan 2016 Timing

Ramadan Mubarak Shayari

Ramadan Eid Images Download

Ramadan Moon Sighting Time 2016

a10 said...

I am happy to visit on your site. Thanks to share it.

roblox said...

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles.

mortal kombat x said...

I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally.

color switch said...

Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone

hoxn Ln said...

curiosity will be strong in order to see what to declare a similar Replica watches UK Smartwatches.Actually Want people of Smart Watch What: This all wrapped, is several billion US dollars handbagreplica question?Of course, there is room for such smart watch. You can use the battery-powered quartz Replica handbags movement and Bluetooth low energy, there is no need to charge Replica Watches the (every other year or so much battery replacement).Indications, since clear and simple Rolex Daytona .

viaviaviavia said...

Thanks for Sharing That... Sucses for You



dishapatani said...

christmas greetings

merry christmas short quotes

christmas & new year greetings

new year wishes and quotes

Pengobatan Mata Glaukoma said...

Very good information, may be useful for everything;)

Pengobatan Atasi Penyakit Jantung
Cara Mengobati Kutu Air
Pengobatan Kram Otot Sampai Tuntas
Obat Atasi Jantung Berdebar
Pengobatan Perut Sembelit
Pengobatan Radang Usus Buntu

Candy Sim said...

The blog or and best that is extremely useful to keep I can share the ideas of the future as this is really what I was looking for, I am very comfortable and pleased to come here. Thank you very much.
animal jam | five nights at freddy's | hotmail login

Vidyabalan said...

nice looking sites and great work. Pretty nice information. it has a better understanding. thanks for spending time on it.
happy rose day 2017
hug day
promise day images
happy valentines day quotes
Happy Easter Messages
Happy Fathers Day poems
good night love

Munwar .sheik said...

good friday quotations

good friday 2017

2017 good friday

good friday Greetings

good friday wishes

good friday 2017 wishes

good friday message

good friday quotes 2017

Kuldeep said...

UPSEE Admit Card
CPT Admit Card
IBPS Admit Card
RPSC 2nd Grade Teacher Admit Card
Rajasthan Police Recruitment
CTET Result

Jac 12th Result Commerce
JAC Board Science Result
Jac 12th Arts Result

robin singh said...

Happy st Patrick's Day SMS
Happy st Patrick's Day Wallpapers
Happy st Patrick's Day Poems
Happy st Patrick's Day Message
Happy st Patrick's Day HD Cards
Happy st Patrick's Day Wishes For Boss
Happy st Patrick's Day Wishes Profile Pics
Happy Holi 2017 Status
Happy Holi 2017 Wallpapers
Happy Holi 2017 Poems

robin singh said...

Happy Holi 2017 Shayari In Hindi
Happy Holi 2017 Cards
Happy Holi 2017 Songs
Happy Holi 2017 Wishes For Wife
Happy Women's Day SMS
Happy Women's Day Images
Happy Women's Day Poems
Happy Women's Day Sayings
Happy Women's Day Wishes For Wife
Happy Women's Day Wallpapers

Packers and Movers Gurgaon said...

Packers and Movers in Gurgaon
Packers and Movers Gurgaon
Packers Movers Gurgaon
Packers Movers in Gurgaon

Movers and Packers in Gurgaon
Movers and Packers Gurgaon
Movers Packers Gurgaon
Movers Packers in Gurgaon

pasang iklan gratis said...

Thanks for posting your story.

Peter said...

Good Friday 2017 Animated GIFs
Good Friday Animated Images
Good Friday Animated GIFs

ipl standings

Md BadshahAnsari said...

Bihar Board 12th Arts Results
Bihar Board 12th Science Results
Bihar Board Science
Bihar Board 12th Commerce
Tips And Daily News

diksha joshi said...

SBI PO Admit Card
Sbi po Syllabus
Sbi PO Previous Papers PDF
SBI po Result
Assam hs Result

A-Z Random Stuffs said...

Easter said...

Good Friday Images
Good Friday Coloring Pages
Happy Good Friday Pictures
Happy Good Friday Quotes
Good Friday Wallpapers
Jesus Christ Images
Good Friday 2017 Wishes