The times seem to call for reflection about the meaning of life and the meaning of death. I am up early today because I couldn't sleep for thinking about what seems to be the imininent death of Pope John Paul II. This at the same time as the death of Terri Schiavo bring together issues which have compelled many of us to think long and hard about our attitudes and our ideas about living and dying.
I am surprised at my own sadness because I disagree fundamentally with his attitude toward women and the issues which affect them. But I also remember that he began the tearing down of the 'iron curtain' and that he did extend his hand toward reconciliation with the Jews and Muslims.
I saw him once -- soon after he became Pope. It was in Washington, DC on a beautiful sunny day -- before the necessity of have a 'popemobile'. My young son and I found a place at the foot of the Capitol building where the Pope's car would turn from Pennsylvania Avenue, to carry on down Constitution. He stood in the convertable --tall and silver-haired with a black cape lined in scarlett, that swirled behind him as the car turned. I couldn't help but think, 'My God, it's Superman' as His Holiness passed by us. And in many many ways I got that about right.