Saturday, January 16, 2010


I had a talk with 'my' soldier today.  He emailed me at noon, asking me to call.  He wanted to talk, and I wanted to listen.  We talked about purpose and we talked about risk and wasting life. We talked about Haiti and how surreal it all seems, as we sit in our homes with a fridge full of food and water at the touch of a button. We talked about Amos, his friend that was killed in Iraq, and we talked about not ever letting him be forgotten. We talked about taking one step at a time and that sometimes those steps can be pretty huge.  And we talked about him speaking with his brother and finding that his fears regarding that relationship were unfounded.  He had taken the risk and his heart began to fill once again and his purpose for being has been exposed. How many of us can say that? What a blessing for him. 

With risk there is more to be gained than lost.  Staying stagnant is a bigger risk.  It starts in the mind and sometimes requires a huge leap of faith to move into something much larger, not knowing what is around the corner. But it is around that corner that we will find life. It is in these places of silence that you will discover your passion. 

Loneliness and empty places in our lives can be places of grace where we find potential.  Sometimes we have to come to the realization that there are few things in life that matter tremendously.  It is then that we sacrifice our cold lonely place of isolation to discover something soon opens up within us, a place where there are possibilities, a place where we find out who we really are and what stuff we are made of. It is a place where we can discover our purpose.

Later in the day, I found myself with a lump in my throat on a call from special friend.  I had asked him to write a story about what to do when you are tired of being strong.  I felt weak at first, sharing my insecurities with him, but not for long.  We all need someone to be honest with - to be vulnerable with.  He has been honest and vulnerable with me many times and now I am with him.  He simply said, "I understand.  I am sorry."

For some reason later in the afternoon, I remembered my grandmother, 'Nanny' I called her.  She was a remarkable lady (the first woman pharmacist in Oklahoma).  I can see her sitting at her oval dining room table, typing on her 'Underwood' typewriter.  I can hear the keys as she hit them.  I can smell the 'Brilliantine' she put in her curly hair, and I can clearly smell the candied orange slices and the cup of coffee always nearby.  Whenever I felt sad, Nanny was there.  She would hold me tight on her left side, as I went to sleep, and she would tell me she loved me.  She taught me to relax first my feet, then my calves and then the rest of my body.  By the time she finished I had fallen asleep.  She had homespun wisdom.  She offered me an ear, a sip or two of coffee with lots of cream and sugar, and a little thimble full of bourbon for a cough, and she taught me what it felt like to be truly cared for. I don't know that I have ever felt that peace since. 

It is that feeling that I wish to project to 'my' soldiers.  For they have taken the risk and the leap of faith and have paid the price, and they have to invent a new way of being - a new way of living. Some can and some never will.  But in all honesty, don't we all make it up as we go? Pain for the soldiers, and perhaps all of us, can be an invitation to know better. We all need to take the risk,  cry for a life that is no more, and take one step at a time to move on.

I find I love to be in the presence of courageous people who wish to take that risk, discover where life is leading them head held high, and find the heaviness in their hearts lessening.  They have it figured out.  Life is to be lived, to be loved and not simply tolerated. These are the people that build us up and not pull us down.  This is the person I want to be.

On a church sign I read, "If you want to know what's in your heart, listen to your mouth."

Try it.  You just might be surprised.  It might just change your life.


"Life is either a great adventure or nothing."
~Helen Keller

"The GREATEST discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds."
Albert Schweitzer

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