As I contemplated the stages of Brother Hammond's life, my life...everyone’s lives, I wrote the following. It is a strange but cemented cycle, even though the emotions and behavior are not the same for everyone:
First you are born, and others are wholly responsible for your well being. The world centers around you! And you have absolutely no idea of the love and sacrifice which is offered to you!
Soon you are a teenager and you want to do everything your way, because after all, most of us KNOW what the best way is by that time!
Then you fall in love, get married and begin the process and progress (hopefully) of taking care of your relationship to your mate, growing together. This is an important and sometimes slow, difficult part of your journey – but can be SO worth it!
Now you have children. Or you do not find a mate and you don’t get married. Either way, you are very close now to the part of the cycle where you care for one or more others that need your help. Your children, or perhaps your parents. Maybe your grandparents or an Aunt or Uncle, a friend or a neighbor. You want to be of assistance in the needs of all those you know and love.
As the children become adults, you do all you can to aid them in their quests and lessons and trials. You are healthy and have the energy and now to serve. Then your children or those you care for become the center of the world for you. The future, as pertaining to these you care for, somehow misses your focus. Their well being and health is front and center.
But no matter how you have seen this happen many, many times before, you do not expect to continue your life without your parents or others who cared for you earlier in your life. When they leave this earth, there is a great time of adjustment. Many times we feel that our very foundation surely must be crumbling!
You are suddenly a step further along in the cycle. YOU are the one now in the final step of this probation!
There comes a time when you become the care-given. And THIS is the real adjustment! In your mind and heart, this most likely had not yet found place! Quickly it becomes very real that your graduation to the final earthly step will be soon. You will have many of your own caregivers during this stage of your progression, and it will be sweet and painful. Painful, partly because you are now fully aware of the love and sacrifice you are receiving.
There is no going back; what you have done or wanted to do for others has flown. And that is as it should be. It is time.
I longingly pray and hope for each of our loved ones to face that time with joy and anticipation, having learned that this is only a new step in what shall surely be many more steps in this beautiful cycle called Life.