My friend Tony is going through a tough time. You can see it in his tired eyes, the slump of shoulders, the clench of his jaws.
His mother is dying, and not so gracefully, I'm afraid. He talks about wanting to do right by her, and how hard that is when her anger flares and she hangs up on him.
So something he said Sunday pierced my heart like an arrow.
"I'm doing the best that I can."
I get weepy every time I think about the surrender in his voice and his faraway look.
And I've been thinking about why those words reached inside so deeply and made a haunting sound like a bow across a cello.
I think it's this:
For all their courage and love and endurance, people of great heart like Tony sooner or later stumble upon the limits of their power, like someone in a dark room who can't find the light switch no matter how hard they try. It's not the kind-one's fault; some rooms simply don't have lights.
But how can a person who's never been in the room before possibly know this? And when dawn's light exposes the bare walls, will Tony be able to forgive himself for not finding what could not be found? Will he hold himself to impossible standards?
Or will he still believe he did the best he could?
I pray he does. I pray we all do.
Image by [xinita] is Oliver Twist!