Just to recap:
First there were floods. Overwhelmingly devastating events only starting with diagnosis. Not just one event but an ongoing series of emotional deluge. In these some things we held important didn't get on the boat. Some part of us did get on the Ark with all kinds of emotions good and bad.
Next we went floating. No rudder, no compass, no GPS, no land to be landmarks... It took some courage to float. We worked through each day step by step. It was lonely. Maybe we learned true compassion and maybe even extended that to ourselves by not letting guilt take control.
Noah’s flood ended. So will ours. He sent out a dove. Three times. The First time it came back but with no sign of life. The second time it brought back an olive leave and the third time was the charm. The bird didn't return.
After the flood that started with diagnosis we go floating, isolated. Eventually we want reach out to see if there is something other than water beyond the horizon. We send a dove. At first it comes back with nothing - the floating isn’t over. I think it is significant that we are ready for it to be over and reach out our hand with a dove. We are ready for something, anything, new relationships even if we don’t at first find them.
The second time the bird brings back a little leaf. There is something out there we can’t see. That is exciting.
The third time the dove stays on new land.
If the bird had not come back the first two times my Noah part would have thought there is nothing out there, even though I wanted something to be there. My Noah would think the bird died, exhausted and fell into the sea, probably eaten by sharks too. But it came back. It proved it could. I think that my Noah needed the bird to come back and me to keep reaching out. By coming back to Noah outstretched hand the bird helped pull him to new territory.
Having proving both it can come back and there is land out there someplace, growing leafs, I gotta think Noah is starts hoping it doesn’t come back. I gotta think Noah get the idea that, ‘If the bird finds a better place than this stinking boat so can I.’ The outstretched hand becomes letting it go with the expectation of no return.
OK that all well and good - here how I see that in in my flood.
A leaf moment for me was meeting a guy name Willie at a JDRF event a few years ago. He was in the corner of an empty room. He became an island. His daughter had been recently diagnosed and they were just back from Friends for Life. We hit it off. His enthusiasm for Friends for Life convinced us to go. What a gift that was, a leaf from new territory full of incredible new heros.
Why did we get along so well? Maybe my drifting taught me some compassion and I could honor their struggle without offering them a trite formula. Maybe the other way round. Who knows? Probably both. I found new territory from a new friend.
Looking back there was a virtual Alfred Hitchcock scene of birds dropping leafs on me. I just didn’t see them for what they were. I guess I was too busy floating and wasn’t ready. I mentioned Kerri and Scott’ pieces on guilt at the end of Floating, here’s just a few other though there were many many more:
- I anxiously looked forward to new episodes Christel Marchand’s diabetic feed podcast. I got to meet her this past summer and she is far more dynamic than I could have guessed and I had ridiculously high expectations.
- I read and wrote on ADA and CWD’s forums where I joked regularly with Nick. I wrote Bad Thing Happen to Good People for him.
- I became friends with Mark who explained who the parents are the primary care give for type 1 kids. Doh!
- I met folks who could invent Tim. I know inventing Tim makes no sense. In that is the brilliance of how welcoming the natives of the new territory are, from facing a similar deluge they can simultaneously create and mock a boogieman to laugh at and honor floods.
- Joe explained explained unrealistic expectations as when to smoke another bowl.
- Ellen got accused of peeing on someone's online Cheerios and that was a chance for me to send a message.
I admit it. I was so used to floating I mistook the all the leafs falling from the wind that pushed me to new land as just another day tossed about on the seas. There was a whole diabetes online community out there dropping leafs like rain drops in the deluge.
Through all of these folks I realized what it means to see with the eye of love that I had to take on faith back in the first of these essays, “..faith is the ability to see with the eye of love. I’ll take that on faith and I’ll loop back later.” Here I am.
From these folks I have learned that looking at somebody who is struggling and honoring their suffering without giving them some trite formula is often little more than the courage to share my own experience without any expectation of return. I love these people for showing me how to do that. To a woman and man none claims to be a perfect diabetic or parent. They simply shared their daily triumphs and challenges. They honor each other’s struggles and in doing so are simply human to one another.
Thanks for taking me in. What a place to find. What a promise to join.
The Noah story closes with a rainbow. A covenant. Chuck said you can can only see a rainbow when with the sun at at your back and the storm passed. The Ark series talking about the end of the rainbow. That the pot of gold is when the storm clears there is the chance to know the intimacy that god intends for all of us.
The ark becomes an Arc, a connection, a promise.
Coming out of my storms I have found a lot of people I would have never know, who’s struggles I honor and am honored to have shared with me.
That is that is my Arc story. I am a little amazed at what came out writing it. If anyone finds value here, great! It's yours with no expectations.
I couldn't resist.
I say it down there in the fine print but it worth saying up here. The music that went with the series was outstanding. There are a number of renditions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Marguerite singing with Brian on acoustic guitar is unbelievable.
The 3rd part of the Ark series that inspired this is partially available on line at http://vimeo.com/7401547 Partially in that all talking is there sadly the music of the services isn’t. Each service featured amazing music, rock for the most part but the music is most notable for a hauntingly beautifully version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. The full series is with tunes available on a DVD. They don't have an online store but you can email Chuck.Blair@newchurchlive.tv and he can set get you a disk.