I attended a graveside service today.
Our dear friends' were due to have a beautiful baby boy this week, but a few days ago he stopped moving. My friend had a c-section, but wasn't able to bring her precious baby home. This morning we stood around his little casket and cried.
Our hearts are broken.
And as I stood there this morning, I thought about what it means to be human.
There is so much we cannot control as humans. We are powerless and weak. There is not much that stands between life and death for any of us. It's no wonder that our brains are on overdrive trying to protect us. We are vulnerable and our primitive brains know it even if we do not.
But being human also means that we have a pre-frontal cortex that can process thought. The thoughts we think in our brain release chemicals into our body which create all our feelings.
And so this means that being a human requires us to feel.
Today, I felt broken-hearted as I thought about my friend and her devastating loss. Each of us experience grief and pain and sorrow because we have the ability to process thought.
At one point in the service today, a group of children sang a song. And one of them couldn't sing because she was crying too hard. And you could hear her little hiccups all through the song.
No matter how young or old we are, being human means we feel and we are susceptible to the whole range of human emotion.
The whole range.
Which means that there is also joy. There is also comfort and gratitude and love. There is tenderness and peace and empathy.
As sad as my friends are today and as sad as we are for them, we also got to feel love and comfort together today.
The human experience has it all. All the joy and all the pain, and all because we are having an experience in a body with the capacity to think.
It is miraculous and devastating and fulfilling and searing and exquisitely beautiful.
And we feel.
This is what it means to be human.