I was looking through the news headlines this morning and I saw that a young woman had died.
Charity 'Sunshine' Tilleman-Dick, who was an opera singer and had twice underwent lung transplant had died at the age of 35.
She suffered rare and disabling illness and the trauma of surgery but went on to live her life as best she could.
I was surprised that she managed to find donors twice. It reminded me that we exist in a rather mutable balancing act and it made saying the morning blessings more acute. I thought on it as I read through asher yatzar and rofei chol basar, wise creator, and healer of all flesh.
It's both incomprehensible and routine anymore that we are able to mend the ill. The love and care of the hospital staff, skills of the surgeons, the chemistry of the pharmacists it's an amazing thing to consider in modern medicine. Still, and with other marvels, such as perhaps space flight I wonder how often it is taken for granted in our age of technology? We are surrounded by complex processes that rely on a myriad of individuals constantly.
It's dangerous and at the same time necessary to assume thing things will just work out. How can one live a life outside of mental collapse over the tenuousness of it all. Our tradition prescribed the custom of recognizing this reality in the morning liturgy. A recognition of our own person as a complex machine and by extension a complex system within a complex system. For the fumkeit the prayer is also said post bathroom visit. As a guy with my share of GI troubles, I get it. But it ends with healer of all flesh which I think is an acknowledgment of the layers of systems in play.
School age experiments looking at cells under the microscopes were our first glimpse into the hidden world. Tiny containers of life with all the bits and bobs self contained, all working together to make up the greater structures, that in turn make up the bits and bobs of creatures such as ourselves. Increasing in scale we loose site quickly of the nature of the system and start to think of ourselves as truly independent from it.
BBC ran a report stating that "human cells make up only about 43% of the bodies total cell count." We are a universe unto ourselves in which "humanity" is a minority!
Ms. Tillman-Dick was 35, a talent that made the world more pleasant, the granddaughter of a holocaust survivor, and by all accounts, not one to lose sight of the goal of making the most of it. Take a moment each morning to appreciate the wonder of it all. If your more of a night owl, then by all means, please do the same.
We are living in times when a wide view is necessary, and at the same time an inward look is equal in measure if we're to ever find balance.