Gratitude for Community

It’s Sunday morning and I’m in bed at quarter after 11, with the Seahawks and Chiefs in the background.  I am so tired.  I had less than an hour of sleep last night but I can’t spend the day in bed as I have a ticket to hear Mendelssohn and Mussorgsky with the Seattle Symphony this afternoon.


Eleven treatments down and in addition to being tired and cold, I am completely overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and love that I am receiving from the communities that I am part of.  I am not sure how to respond, I don’t even know how to start showing gratitude.

I walk through cemeteries on my way to and from ProCure, which is calming and peaceful.  They also make me think of community, especially the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Nicholas and the Bikur Cholum graveyards.  I didn’t know any of the residents but I sense that these are strong communities as well.  As I walk through the burial grounds I reflect on the many incredible communities that I am part of, our neighborhood, my yoga studio, our friends, the community coming together for this benefit concert next weekend, our families, Olivia’s students, friends I met through the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Cancer Centre, my Summerhill Winery family, family and friends in Australia, schoolmates, and now my new communities here in Seattle: new friends, ProCure staff and patients, SCCA House residents and staff, too many to list.


Today, I am not going to worry about how to respond, I will just be grateful that I am part of these wonderful and supportive communities, and try to stay awake at Benaroya Hall

I won’t find internment with the Orthodox Brotherhood or Bikur Cholum, my worship today is confined to the church of st mattress, but I can be an interloper in their repose and celebrate their communities and mine.

10 thoughts on “Gratitude for Community

  1. Glad you are feeling some peace even if its walking through cemeteries . Community is the source of life for all of us-we’re there for each other. I often reflect on what it must feel like if you are not connected to a community. Just accept all you are receiving in the comfort of knowing that you too have reached out to others many times in many different ways.
    love prayer and positive thoughts from afar


  2. As a child a Sunday afternoon tradition for my sister, brother, grandfather and me was to walk through a cemetery and read the gravestone inscriptions and collect pine cones. I found it calming and enjoyable. I am so happy, Paul, to know that I’m not the only one who finds comfort in cemeteries.

    I hope you stayed awake through the concert (I’ve dosed in a concert on occasion) and have accumulated some sustained shut-eye.


  3. Paul,

    So glad to hear that you are finding interesting & peaceful places while you are on your walks. There does seem to be a quiet, peaceful atmosphere in cemeteries. It reminds me of the places where monks live & pray. The presence of nature is with us. Perhaps we can hear the wisdom of the many voices of those who were once with us. Hmm… I’m probably sounding a bit weird. Just enjoy your moments when you walk through the cemetery, Paul. You never know what be realized.

    Hoping your energy level will improve over the days. It’s hard for me to really know what you are going through but I do understand tiredness. Sending you positive & healing energy!


  4. Paul, you an amazing writer. To share your journey with us is so much appreciated. The patron saint
    of the Orthodox church will be celebrating St.Nicholas Day in Dec, This is when our family used to get their Christmas stockings. Reading the Ukrainian inscription on the church was heartwarming for me because our St. Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Parish Prayer Group is sending many prayers your way for strength in body and spirit and recovery.

    Betty Lou & Ihor


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