I can't even think of a title...

The casket is placed on the raised area underneath the tent, after the funeral it is lowered into the cremation area.

The casket is placed on the raised area underneath the tent, after the funeral it is lowered into the cremation area.

Until this week, inspiration for my blog posts has come easily, making the decision to write weekly seem like it was a good one. At one point I had three posts in process. Thoughts and ideas for posts seemed to be screaming at me and they were constantly ruminating or maybe percolating in my mind. Right now, I am down to one post in progress, but I think it is really important and I want to read several books before I will be ready to actually write it

Although I am not feeling as inspired, I still have a sense that all of these thoughts are floating around throughout the day. The thoughts have just been muted for over a week, and until today I had no idea why. Today, I realized on our drive back from a funeral that I have a ton of emotions right now. To be more specific and vague, I have a complex amalgamation of emotions that I seem to be unable to sort or separate at this moment. So there you go. That is where I am at and that is what I will be personally working on over the coming weeks.

Despite today’s surprising realization, I feel like I am doing pretty well. Susan and I have been exercising and getting some nice runs in. Here is some of the rest of my checklist:

  1. Practice guitar 30 minutes a day
  2. 5 days this week Learn 15 Thai words 6 out of 7 day
  3. Force yourself to try and use Thai more frequently in conversation

We have also gotten a pretty good handle on our budget, different places we can shop depending on our work schedule, and survived another overnight shift with a rough, but manageable morning. I had 2 instances of what I am now titling “terrible moments in nursing,” but no one was injured and I just felt like a fool. Krisida (the nurse here) also agreed with a couple recommendations I made about patients, which helped me feel like I am starting to contribute more.

Many of you have started to recognize that I am struggling with the idea of privilege right now – what it means, what it is, how much of it I have, how to recognize it, etc… On Friday, we had the privilege of being invited to a visitation. The husband of a social worker who works for the Good Shepherd Sisters died quite unexpectedly. Today, (Monday), we were invited to the funeral.

A paper flower every attendee places on the casket.

A paper flower every attendee places on the casket.

On the ride back from the funeral, in the silent cabin of the pickup truck, I was thinking about what a privilege it is to be able to attend and witness these events and customs. The vulnerability and intimacy of the people I am with, their community, and the culture was staggering. There was also a beautiful, traditional Thai dance performed by 4 women in ceremonial dress. We are also fortunate enough to have cultural translators explaining to us what is going on every now and again. 

At a few points in the ceremony, I found myself turning back the clock in my mind and thinking about where many of these customs came from and how they may have modernized over time. The monks also sing in an ancient language that very few people understand, so for most of the attendees it harkens back to the days when Catholic masses were held in Latin.

After the ceremony, we were able to say hello to our co-worker and she thanked us for coming. It seemed like she appreciated us being there, but I am sure it has been a very long 72 hours. We “Y-ed” (the act of bowing) her and awkwardly embraced her as hugs do not appear to be faux pas, but clearly are not common here.

In this moment it feels trivial, but I am also struggling a little bit with my mission to “Just Love.” As the dust settles, we get to know people and hear more stories/gossip about people, and relationships. I have noticed that I have started to see people through other’s eyes. I am going to leave this idea here, because I will do my best to develop my thoughts more and have a post for you this weekend.


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