Published on March 25, 2016

Your Mission Is Meaningful

By Louisa Thomas-Parrish, Social Worker

My Genesis Mission

He was just like all of us and yet there was a grace and peace...

He was just like all of us, and yet
there was a grace and peace...

“Genesis Health System exists to provide compassionate, quality health services to all those in need.” I have had the privilege, and sometimes the burden, of being exposed to very deep and important mission statements such as this one. When you work for Genesis, you personally take on that mission. 

My life since childhood has been greatly influenced by people who lived their mission. It was woven into their fabric of being, the essence of who they are. These individuals have been a reminder of how to live a mission.

Mission Gives Grace

I had the privilege to briefly know such a mission-minded man. Based on the brief time I spent with him, I believed he spent his eighty plus years as devoted and passionate to serving others as passionately as I had served him; and, as a hospice social worker, I was with him while he was dying.

Dying and death is about appreciating, sensing, and honoring the sacredness of the present condition. We can postulate all aspects of the past, present and future, but dying and the loss in death are present and real. It is tangible and universal.

I saw this man struggle with his pride due to the loss of his independence and dignity. He was just like all of us--and yet there was a grace and peace demonstrated throughout his speech. He was committed to being a relational being and serving others. This gentleman spoke to me in a profound way. Through his decline, he had to reframe what being a servant meant and who he truly was serving; and, he was mission-minded enough to do so, even when dying.

Mourning Remembers a Life Mission

He touched so many, many lives...

He touched so many, many lives... 

After I found out he died, I immediately felt the intensity of grief, beginning with the regret that I did not get to spend time with him just once more. I was saddened by the many people who also were feeling his loss. I was angry I did not have one more opportunity to interact with his graceful heart. Grief involves self-reflection in its nature and that is good because grief is a part of how we heal.  

Unselfishly, I have taken time to remember him. I am reminded of the peace and contentment he had over death with a longing to be connected to a promise of new life beyond. He touched so many, many lives; otherwise so many of us would not be feeling such profound loss. He was not famous. His name is not a household name. He was simply a humble man on mission to serve others with his deeds or just his words. 

Grief's Mission

In the service of caring for others, it is good for me to be reminded of my own humanity. Despite my textbook knowledge and years of experience, my grief is no different than yours. I am thankful to be reminded of the pain after loss because it reminds me of the joy shared with another’s life. Maya Angelou said, “They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Grief can be our reminder of how true this is, how important your mission is, and how profound it is to live it.

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