Dr. Weeks’ Comments: We are all idealists, to varying degrees, and yet we all tend to forget that our time on earth is finite, limited, won’t go on forever. And therefore, we spend some days carelessly forgetting how precious each morning, noon, afternoon, eventide and nighttime is – again and again. We can’t grasp that these days are not to be wasted. When my patients feel suicidal, I have come to believe that this feeling derives from a problem of focus: their thoughts have focused on themselves to an unhealthy degree and not on all that they can still offer to others. (Remember, we can always offer far more to others than we believe we are capable of offering). Helping others, which is why we are here, after all, is necessary to feel and share love.
I have just come from visiting an old friend who now is on hospice care and anticipates dying soon. He is at peace and feels predominately gratitude but only wishes for more days to be of more service. That is what is hard for him. To not be able to be of further meaningful service.
A.E. Houseman, a dear “friend” of mine ( to whom I was introduced over 30 years ago by another cherished friend, David – himself an idealist now facing jail time for standing on his principles) recollects for us this temporal, efforvescent nature of our time of service:
From far, from eve and morning,
From yon twelve-winded skies,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither. Here am I.
Now for a breath I tarry,
Nor yet disperse apart.
Take my hand quick, and tell me
What have you in your heart.
Speak now, and I will answer.
How shall I help you? Say!
E’re to the winds twelve quarters
I take my endless way.
And Robert Service reminds us in Just Think!
Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! ’twill be your own.
That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.
A little gain, a little pain,
A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
A star-gleam on a stone.