A week ago I started my Saturday morning with coffee and a pastry at Destination Bakery. After taking my order, the attendant asked, “Paper or porcelain?” It was a rare morning, one in which I could afford to choose porcelain. I sat at one of the few tables in the café and watched the comings and goings of Glen Park’s awakening. Reflecting on the slower pace in this tiny bedroom community, I wondered how the ever-increasing speed of life has pushed us further and further toward impermanence. I sipped my coffee, enjoying the heft of the smooth porcelain cup in my hand.
Later that morning, Nick and I went to a memorial service for our friend Rebecca who died far too young. I had worked with Rebecca at SGI when she was Becky, an exuberant post-collegiate organizational fiend, and had witnessed her transformation to Rebecca, a confident, elegant woman who had a smile that would take your breath. At one point in the service, Rebecca’s husband, Ed, told the crowd that Rebecca didn’t want to be remembered as one who “battled” cancer, but one who “lived with” cancer. I didn’t comprehend the significance of this distinction until another of Rebecca’s friends stood and told of how Rebecca lived the final years of her life, not in fear of her death, but in joy of her life.
At the end of the service, video clips were shown from Rebecca’s last week where she had the opportunity to meet her new granddaughter, Tessa. Most of the shots were of Rebecca and Tessa in bed cooing at one another. Rebecca was indeed enjoying the last days of her life. I vowed to myself that I would choose porcelain over paper whenever possible.