Day 8 – HEALING: Today, choose a painful incident in your life and find the “gift” it has given you. Consciously share this gift with others.
“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.” Marianne Williamson
I try not to think about the most painful incident in my life, the one that shook me to my core, because after seven years, it still hurts, but I’m willing to go there for this day of Healing.
I clearly remember the day of the “incident”; I guess it’s a memory that will be with me for the rest of my life. I was looking forward to the day because my work-team had traveled from different corners of the U.S. to converge at our WHQ for a conference. It was always a productive, but also fun time when we were all able to come together in one location to discuss business and debrief at the end of the day at a local restaurant with a good meal and a few drinks.
My day started as it usually did – up early for my morning 3 mile run. Afterwards, I was on a runner’s high and happy with life. When I got back to the hotel room for my shower, I noticed an email from my dad that screamed, “COME NOW!”. When I saw the tittle, I thought it was one of those email strings being sent around. My dad new I was out of town on a business trip, so I was surprised to hear from him so early. The email had no written content, so I called his house phone and his cell to see what was going on..no answer. I then called his sister to see if they had spoken that morning. They were very close and spoke on a daily basis. She said she had not heard from him that day, but since it was her birthday she was sure they would talk later. I told her about the baffling email message. She said she would check on him.
As I left the hotel and while in the car, I got a call from my aunt with the news that, “your father killed himself”. The words didn’t register right away so I asked her to repeat her statement. She said, “your father isn’t with us anymore”. Now, I’ve given birth twice and even though they were joyous occasions, with each birth came the statement, “never again will I endure that pain!!”. The process of giving birth is no joke. Well, the pain I felt after hearing the news, did not even compare to the pain of giving birth. The birthing process was a physical pain while the knowledge that my best friend was no longer alive was a pain of the heart. I could not breath. I could not think. I could not move. I was in Shock. Our admin made flight arrangement for me to fly back home and my teammates packed my bags and drove me to the airport. I was in a fog for a long time. The other dreaded part of the experience was calling my children to tell them, “grandpa is gone”.
Writing about this major loss in my life still brings up a lot of emotions, but I am now able to “feel” them in a different way. Believe it or not, there are a few healing gifts that came from this devastation. I received the gift of empathy and compassion. The Buddha said, ““Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” I now have empathy for those who have and will loose loved ones. I now have compassion for those who experience pain at all levels. I now have a up-close-and-personal view of suicide and better understanding of the thoughts that may lead to the act of taking one’s life. And, I now advocate for people dealing with mental health issues.
The biggest gift of all is the gift of knowing that tomorrow is not promised (hell, the next minute is not promised) and that I should not take anyone or anything for granted. I happily make time for my children to talk with them, hang out with them, and show appreciation for them each and everyday. Out of a traumatic experience came a better appreciation for life.
“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” Melody Beattie
David Foster Wallace, a brilliant writer, lived with depression for over 20yrs, but lost his battle in 2008 when he committed suicide. This passage he wrote about suicide seems to capture the essence of suicidal person. It seems he had a good grasps on suicidal ideation. My guess is that he may have had these thoughts regarding his own life. Of course, this is speculation on my part based on his bio. I don’t know his actual thoughts, but I do appreciate his quote about the subject of suicide and depression.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing.
The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.
The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
“I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful – collecting these shards of spirituality – that we may be helping to bring about a healing.” Leonard Nimoy
Tomorrow’s Preview: Day 9 DREAMING – what is one thing you can do to honor MLK, Jr’s “dream”?
**Season for Nonviolence campaign, also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence**