A friend reached out this a.m. after reading St Therese’s prayer. She has lost both her parents in the last few months. We chatted a bit about grief and asking for strength. She commented she wasn’t sure who she was talking to in her head, but that traditional beliefs did not have a presence in her life right now.
Completely understandable, we don’t feel very spirited in the wilderness.
It got me to thinking…
Faith. Does it matter what you are having faith in, or just that you are choosing to believe?
And which feels better right now– to project hope into a future positive possibility or to fear the worst?
Faith is seeing possibilities, not just problems. (What is a problem solver anyway? I think it’s just someone that believes in possible solutions.)
“The day I stop giving is the day I stop receiving. The day I stop learning is the day I stop growing. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.“
~ Wayne Gretzky
Why do we take our stories, our human experiences, and make them our secrets? I think what the Spirit of love and compassion is all about is quite the opposite. Sharing is a service, a catharsis to yourself, and an offering of support to another.
Being open can be helpful and healing. When we’re closed, we shut people off, and out.
A friend at his beloved son’s funeral said boldly, “Good will come of this,” and it has, and continues to. I don’t know how someone musters the strength to say those words. Perhaps they are said for you, with a loving spirit. When we treat our lives as ‘open books’ we offer this up, and create legacy. When we ‘close chapters’ and turn pages, we do not.
Another family, friends of friends, lost their son Oakley to anaphylaxis from accidentally eating nuts in a cake while on a family vacation a few years ago. I found their story to be heartbreaking, especially as I have two children with anaphylactic allergies; and what unfolded for them is the nightmare of all parents of children with nut allergies.
After the Debbs family lost their son Oakley, they decided that they needed to help others, and do what they could to help other families avoid such tragedy. They founded an advocacy campaign called Red Sneakers, after the red athletic sneakers their son often sported. The notion is to educate people on what to do when anaphylaxis starts setting in (take the shot, take the shot, take the shot- of adrenaline- without question!) Their hope – to inform others of life saving information that might have saved their own son’s life… had they been given this crucial information.
“Death changes us, the living. In the presence of death, we become more aware of life…It can inspire us to decide what really matters in life – and then to seek it.”
Candy Lightner, Founder of MADD, Giving Sorrow Words
The other night while on vacation, an urgent call came to a friend from his son. His son had eaten something that was sending him into anaphylaxis. Scary at any time, but particularly while away in a 3rd world country with no medical care, and limited medicine on hand. His breathing was labored, his lips swollen and his body covered in hives. Benadryl was not doing much. Doctors ingrain in allergy patients “if you take the shot you have to go to the hospital,” but that was not an option. The advice is misleading- sounding as if the shot could cause you harm, when the truth is not taking it can be deadly. With anaphylaxis, there can come a point of no return.
Thank God for Red Sneakers and the Debbs family’s commitment to advocacy and education, which informed a brave young man named Brody to give himself the shot he thought he wasn’t supposed to take, and get life-saving medicine in a pinch. Simple words, and shared stories save lives.
Keep your books open and your stories shared. And never be afraid to give life a shot.
A Reflection, by C. Fredrick Buechner:
“We have it in us to be Christs to each other and maybe in some unimaginable way to God too—that’s what we have to tell finally. We have it in us to work miracles of love and healing as well as to have them worked upon us.”
* * *