Thursday, May 6, 2010
PAYING THE PRICE
"For anything worth having one must pay the price, and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice. No paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service."
I had a friend once who told me the real business of accomplishing something grand was to 'get in the trenches.' I agree. The trenches in my life are four walls in my office. It is here that I command a foundation, struggle with personality differences, unending urgent and not-so-urgent needs, constant phone calls, over 150+ emails a day, placating concerns, and today dealing with a terrorist threat that I have to report to homeland security and the police. Just another normal day in the trenches.
Standing in the limelight is tedious, tiring, and ultimately not for me. And then there are those times I find it excruciating to be in the trenches. For it is here you dodge the bullets, come face to face with fear, and find you need to pray alot. As my soldiers say, "You will never find an atheist in a fox hole." Sitting in the trenches is something I have had to do it for as long as I can remember.
For me the trenches are home and somehow strangely familiar and comforting. Why? Because in the trenches or fox holes, you find 'grace.' "Grace, as we use it...is a broad concept that characterizes loving and compassionate responses to others." ~Donald B. Kraybill,Steven M. Molt. In the trenches you often get knocked down. And you find you are sometimes not the most popular kid on the block. It is then you pick yourself up and keep on moving forward toward your passion and embrace your particularity.
It is in the trenches that I learn to be a better person, a more compassionate person, a more loving person and more tolerant of others differences. And to me this is grace. It can also be an exhausting, disrespectful, foggy, and isolating place. But ultimately it is where I do things that make me feel alive.
The world needs more trenches filled with people who are commited to making this world a better place, showing compassion in the worst of times and the best of times, where moving forward is a mindset, a decision. Mother Teresa said, "Peace begins with a smile." If ever anyone was in a foxhole or the trenches it was her.
I told a soldier yesterday 'there is a purpose for your being here, you must hold on.' I held a lady I had never met, as she wept into my shoulder. She had come with her husband to tour the Warrior Family Support Center, at BAMC in San Antonio. When she saw Kelsie, my therapy dog, she knelt down and wrapped her arms around her and Kelsie burrowed her muzzle into the ladies neck as she began crying. I looked to her husband for support, and he said in broken German/English that this was the first dog in her life she had ever petted. You see they are military from Germany. She spoke no English, and as she held Kelsie and kept saying "Oh, Oh" over and over again she told her husband that now she will 'never be afraid of dogs again, because she had met Kelsie." As she rose from the floor, she reached out to me, and we stood locked in an embrace where words would have been meaningless. But we both understood the message. There is much to be learned from a dog.
Sometimes we need to come out of our foxholes and find life. Sometimes what we are in there fighting for becomes vague and disadvantaged. Sometimes we have to practice kindness, a kindness that points outwards. Your heart must be ready to listen, to hear and to do something outside of yourself that will benefit others. So today despite life, as it is right now for me, all jumbled in turmoil, I celebrate small victories. I celebrate life. I honor the next breath I take and ask you to do the same. I am blessed; I have become my dream.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."
"You are how you act, not just how you believe."
God Bless America in all places and at all times.
We continue to need your support....to support our troops in harm's way.
Don't forget them. They never forget us.
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