Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Island, not just for the poor.....................

I believe there's a misconception that Hart Island - Potter's Field - is the final resting place for the poor, the homeless, the indigent, the family-less, only.  Not true!  And, you may ask, "why should I care?"  While all the Potter's Fields throughout the world serve their purpose for those mentioned - quite frankly, if it weren't for such places, where should these unfortunate souls lay their bones, or should they just be thrown away? -one only has to look at my brother's story to know that many on the Island came from middle-class families, they were not poor, nor indigent and they did and do have families and friends. Besides, what difference does it make anyway - where the souls came from - do they not deserve the same dignity in death?

"There but for the grace of God go I".   We've all heard these words, many of us say them, and they are not exclusive to any particular religious group. So, where did these words come from and why are they so powerful?  The story goes that a variation of these words were spoken by the English Evangelical Preacher & Martyr, John Bradford (1510-1555) as he watched criminals being led to their deaths. He, himself, was burned at  the stake in 1555.  Point is, we don't know how life will turn out for us, we have no idea how it will end, and we have no real control over anything in life or, most definitely, not in death.  And so, lest you think those on Hart Island are basically "nobodys", of them could be the future you.  Is this where you would want to spend your eternal life?  Think about it.  Now, what can be done?