Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme. The theme for May is Nurturing Beauty. This month’s post is offered by Janna Sperry Sundby.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” –Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Reviewing this quote made me pause. I recently and unexpectantly lost a dear friend. He was beautiful and I did not know he was suffering.
He was a talented designer, developer, film maker, guitarist, singer, a joyous friend, a good cook, and great father. I hired him to create my first website back in 2000. He was thoughtful in helping me understand the process and I subsequently hired him to work with on websites for my clients. He could be loud, loved to use foul language, and loved his home country of Madrid Spain.
I’ve watched him over the years work at Target, Blue Stem Brands and Polaris. He did some truly outstanding work that was technically strong and visually appealing. He was self-taught in everything he did. He reeked of natural talent but embraced the hard work of learning something new. He would research things and was very well read. I witnessed him nurture his daughter as she was growing up. She was fluent in English and Spanish, and she loved to be outgoing and funny. He nurtured her beauty and her talents, even though she and her mother moved to California when she was 12. He took her to Madrid in the summers to meet and get to know his extended family there.
I’ve been working through my grief and thinking about nurturing beauty. Here’s some of what I learned:
“Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Grief is an experience we all encounter, and it mostly comes unexpectedly. Many of you in this church have shared your grief. Loss is so very painful and it’s something every person experiences. I am reminded how grief is connected to love. I did not get that when I was younger. I’m also working through, “How someone dies should not transcend what contributions they gave while living.” I learned a great deal from my friend. I was always in awe of his talents. He was like a brother who was always fun to catch-up with because he was always working on something new.
One of the ways I’m trying to live my life, is by being in the present. Being present, is after all, all we have. I love to observe and listen to nature. She is both astounding and hard. She is beautiful. I’m trying to respect and nurture her while I’m able.
— Janna Sperry Sundby
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees