I’ve been thinking about how to write the happy ending Part 2 for the previous post. This isn’t anything like what I thought I was going to write, but my friend Lynda sent me this video this morning. It’s very powerful, and it shows so clearly what I’ve been feeling.
Roland, thank you for reminding me that when I’m in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I’m in the SHADOW. There’s a saying, “Hurt is inevitable in life; suffering is optional.” I get that. I’m dealing with legitimate grief. But I get stuck in the shadow sometimes, and you can’t see things clearly in shadows. That’s when I suffer from loneliness and being alone; when I’m in the shadows and wrong about what I think I’m seeing.
My aunt, the one who died, and I became very close the last few years. We’d both been changing how we’d lived our lives, and this was a chance for both of us to do-over some of the family relationships, mother-daughter, sister-sister … One of the things I valued most, in a family where secrets are high-value currency, was the openness – we talked about all of it. She died on a Sunday morning; the last time I was with her when she was at all coherent was Wednesday evening. She was asleep, and I was praying and watching. I had bent over, had my arms folded on her bed and my head on them, crying, and I felt her hand on the back of my head. She asked if I was all right, and I said no, and I was going to miss her. She kept her hand on my face and said, “She promised – you will never be alone.”
And I haven’t been, but shadow obscures truth.
All right – if I’ve done this right, the video will interrupt the text here, and you can watch it first, and then I’ll tell you why I posted it.
Libby Sauter was the first woman to cross that slackline. I know nothing about slackline-walking, other than what I’ve seen here. It’s seems obvious that it has to be one straight pass. Every time she slipped, she had to go back and start the attempt over. It took about 80 seconds to make the final crossing, but look what came around that.
There’s Libby herself – the desire to do it, the determination to practice before she got there, accepting the missteps and falls and the necessity of getting back up and starting over again. You could hear her yell when she fell one time – she didn't sound scared to me, she sounded pissed off.
There’s her coach. I could see the history in their relationship. So, he helped teach her, helped her get ready. Held her hand as she started the walk until she was ready to let go. (Did you SEE the wind blowing his shirt? Shudder.) He was tied off more heavily than her, so he could go get her when she couldn’t get up herself. The music was off during that successful attempt, and you could hear him talk to her non-stop: “Stay up, it’s yours, you got it. Don’t rush this last part. This is just a slackline to you now …” Then, there to celebrate.
That’s not all. There was the guy with the camera, breathing for her and cheering. The other women who were there – four video cameras and two stills, all with people attached. This was Libby Sauter’s victory, and she couldn’t have done it without them.
The first time I saw this, around the 3:20 mark, I thought, “Oh, that’s Bob.” Not for real. I have someone who teaches me what he knows about living life and looking for God, and holds my hand when he can, and helps me up when I fall, and never, ever says, “Well, of course you fell; what were you thinking trying to do that?” I told him not long ago there’d never been anyone in my life before who always told me I could do that, if I said I wanted to, and he said, “Yeah, you can; look what you’ve done.” I said, “I’ve never been able to argue with you. You say, ‘you can do that, because I did this, and so I know you can.’ And I can’t argue, because so often you were doing it and I could see it had been harder for you than what I'm looking at.”
He’s not the only one. There are others who’d do those things for me if I went to them more often. I still act like a hurt kitten and go hide out, instead of going where there’s people to help. I have so much love and support in my life – there are people here, at church, 12-Steppers, even family. And there are people “out there” in cyberspace, in all those circles too.
If you’re reading this, that includes you. Most of you are new in my life. We meet the way everyone meets – “Ellie or Dennis or Fran or the Mad One or someone told me this today – go over there and see them, and get to know them too. You can say I sent you if you want.” Joys, struggles, caring, loving, prayer – all those things are shared here. I don’t know about you, but I’m drinking coffee with you while I’m hanging out, too. Thank you.
My life is full of blessing, when I stand in the light and look at it. “Hurt is inevitable; suffering is optional.” There are gifts for me in the hurt too, and today I choose to be honest, look for the gifts, and I’ve found some.
It doesn’t say at YouTube what the name of that song is, or who’s singing it – I really like it. If you know, would you tell me? Thanks.