Wednesday, January 12, 2011


"What is missing from many of our days is a true sense that we are enjoying the lives we are living."
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Some days, many days, too many days, I wake up and think I have forgotten to put me on my 'to do list.'  It makes me wonder, sadly all too often, if I am so busy I am actually missing my own life. Am I so busy helping other people that I don't help myself.

I read the quotation below early one morning last week at about 3:30 AM when I couldn't sleep.  It came at a time when I really needed it. It bears repeating in it entirety. 

"What if there's something tremendous and exciting down there merely waiting for you if you make a little adjustment in where you're letting down your nets, in how you conceive of your existence? What if it's only a matter of learning to fish in a new place?

What might that mean, in your life?

Maybe a new job — or a new way of doing the old one, a redefining of your position, a re-envisioning of its contours. Maybe a new relationship — or some fresh ways of acting within the old ones, so that they get injected with passion again and you begin to laugh and sing and skip and look forward to being with the people in your life. Maybe a new church or synagogue — or a different approach to spiritual life in the old one, so that everything looks different and throbs with beauty and meaning and vitality again.

I'm not saying which it ought to be, the new or the old. What I'm saying is that life, the lake, the unconscious, is filled with possibilities, that it is rich beyond all imagining, that God wants us to enjoy it, to revel in it, to be excited about it, as if it were Disneyland and the fireworks were going off all around us all the time.

We weren't meant to go stale, to settle into mere routine, to lose the mystery and glamour and excitement of existence. And if we have gone stale and settled for less than the fireworks, then it is time we heard the Master calling from the edge of the lake, from the edge of our unconscious, and telling us to let the nets down in a new place."

— The Rev. Dr. John Killinger
30 Good Minutes - Chicago Sunday Evening Club

Okay, if nothing else, it reminds me that I am not alone in this quandry.  This morning I was giving projects to a friend to help me get through the mounds of paperwork and undone 'stuff' on my desk.  He listened and then quietly said,  "I don't ever sugarcoat anything.  But you're not happy are you?"  Talk about ice cubes hitting me. Without hesitation I said, "No I'm not."  Ouch.

Yes, I want to 'skip, and dance, and sing.'  I want the 'fireworks.' 

I am all too often held together precariously by this passion, this vision, this struggle, and this fervent committment to 'my' wounded warriors suffering from PTSD.  The depth of the scope of this tender thread became apparent the other night when something happened that threw my world upside down.  It sent me into a major panic attack and one that lasted most all of the following day.  The entire day I spent curled up in bed with a pillow over my head trying to shut out the noise.  The noise of what had happened, what had been said, the pain it caused me, the harshness of voices, the disruption of my life, the depth of disappointment, and excruciating repercussions, of old memories and  pain. 

Many of my dearest friends called expressing their deep concern.  Several called, offering soup, comfort, and distraction. One friend called thinking perhaps a houseboat vacation on Lake Powell would be the answer. The dogs curled up around me on the bed the entire day and night, prompted my sense of duty once again to my wounded warriors with PTSD. Shouldn't I 'curl up' (metaphorically) around them as they battle through the wilderness alone.

 I can tell you, without my dogs, there have been many times I don't know how I could have made it. The warmth, the sound of their breathing, the one eye never leaving my face, their obligation and duty to not leave my side, no matter what, reaffirmed my responsibility to my warriors.  Some wait patiently for their service dog, some struggle to wait, and some are desparate for help.  My mission is to get them help as soon as humanly possible.  Sometimes they have to wait too long, sometimes they don't think they can wait any longer. Sometimes I can't take their pain. 

Today a phone call from a warrior, who is living with severe spinal pain every moment of the day, tolerable only with morphine, told me all I need to know. I asked where he was and how he was.  He said he was going to take his TADSAW service dog to play frisbee.  Okay number one, it is barely above freezing here in South Texas, and number two the cold weather plays havoc with his pain, making it intolerable. Today is January 12th.  He has been to the hospital eight times this month. But today his service dog got him out of bed, out of a funk, temporarily away from the pain, and off to toss a frisbee in the park. 

Lesson learned?  Not sure.  Perhaps now is the time that I skip, dance and sing.  Perhaps that is why I have been targeted also with PTSD.  Perhaps, just perhaps, I am the messenger for our warriors carrying the same burden.  Perhaps these are the fireworks.  Maybe I don't need to throw a net down in a new place.  Maybe I am right where I am supposed to be.

So those days when there are hundreds of things too heavy to handle, I need to remember this frisbee.  I may still need to bury my head under a pillow, but so far, I have come back out. 

Maybe my prayers have been answered.  Maybe our prayers are answered everyday.  And just maybe we are too busy or self absorbed to see them.


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