On living artfully and intentionally as embodied by Dr. Bruce Kramer

Answer one question or many - using words, photos or other media.

Bruce asked himself, "What will you be from here to eternity?" If you were asked, how would you respond?

Deborah DeMeester
This painting was inspired by Bruce's comment: “Out of the emptiness that was once the surety of my life came the question, ‘What will you be from here into eternity?’” (p. 20) The water in which the subject stands washes away the illusions of control, fixing, and independence...

When the assumptions (known or unknown) on which you have built your life are washed away by life’s circumstances, the question that arises is “What will I be from here to eternity?” What will it take to get there for you?
Cathy Wurzer
That is such a profound question. I learned from Bruce that in the end, it's really all about love. Learning how to love and be loved.
Bill Kleis
It is all about love. Unfortunately, we can't love unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I think life's journey for many of us is about getting rid of our sense of self-importance. For others, it might be about finding the next meal. As Mother Teresa says, it's when "You did it for ME." When that's our motive, I think we are on the right track regardless of the kind of poverty. That being said, I am really counting on God's mercy, because that's the only way I can see a good outcome after this thing called life. The faith thing is a battle. I certainly felt that part between the lines in the book.
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What are your favorite photos or music that capture the themes of the book?

Deborah DeMeester
I love this photo. In the short months after Bruce died several of his friends were visited by beautiful butterflies. One of the themes of the book that resonated with me is despite the physical confinement of ALS, Bruce's spirit soared, it couldn't be confined.
Bill Kleis
Here is a second picture that captures the beauty of God's creation
Bill Kleis
I think that any photo that speaks of God's presence in the world is helpful. It is easier to find it in nature than in world affairs these days. It helps one stay mindful which allows for better awareness and discernment, and the opportunity to see glimpses of God in others, like Bruce. The Buddhists and Jesuits talk about our "disordered attachments". Here are a few recent pictures that speak to me.

"It took one major storm to splinter my life..." What have you learned in such times?

Cathy Wurzer
I learned that I'm a lot stronger than I think I am.
Bruce was also very strong and courageous and he used to say that he was well equipped to have ALS.
His family experiences played a big role in that.

This is a link to the radio interview where Bruce explained WHY his background equipped him to live with such a horrible disease:
Deborah DeMeester
This podcast beautifully captures the importance of realizing we always have choices.

Dec 16, 2015

Bruce admitted to being a first class "fixer" but he couldn't ALS. When is fixing YOUR default position? Are there other options that might bring greater energy and creativity?

Bill Kleis
It isn't about giving up. It's about deciding when it is time to turn it over to God if one is fortunate enough to be lucid. My friend, Tom O'Neill, died on January 30, 2016. He died from Kennedy's Syndrome, a "milder" form of ALS, which meant he could live a little longer. Tom met Bruce when he came to Rochester for one of his interviews with Cathy. He joked that being in a wheelchair for once was an advantage, because he was able to meet Bruce after the interview. Bruce asked him, "...what he had", and Tom told him. Bruce responded that he had wished he had that. It truely affected Tom. Tom and I met weekly at his home until we switched to the nursing home. When he moved to acceptance, he told me that each morning he picked the "next" family in his church pictorial directory and prayed for that family that day. This was a great alternative to fixing, and Tom found some fulfillment with it. Acceptance is more about letting go than giving up. I think that was Bruce's message with dis ease.
Sharon Radd
What a beautiful story and memory. Thank you so much for sharing this! It touched my heart today.

Where do you find comfort in difficult times?

Deborah DeMeester
Bruce Kramer found solace in music. Music was at the core of who he was. Recently, a Minneapolis based performance group did a dramatic reading of select passages of the book and put a bit of it to music. Here is what they created. Take a listen!

How does Bruce's distinction between disease and dis ease make sense to you?

Contemplating our own death can be depressing.What are the gifts such contemplation might bring?