Saturday, December 10, 2005

Big Foot

You may recall that some time ago I wrote a story about a boy named Luke that died in a tornado. I followed that with an explanation of why I wrote the story and why I dealt with Luke’s fate the way that I did.
The central premise of both posts was a discussion of faith. The idea of fate being a cruel master is one of my faith weaknesses. It is the reason I presented Luke with a fate of non-awareness of his death. It absolves my pain.

Today I woke up to the story of a six year old boy that died in the crash of a Southwest Airlines plane. He wasn’t in the plane. He was riding in a car that fate put in the path of the airplane.
As I sat reading the newspaper and then hearing the account of the incident on television, sadness came over me. It is, for me, unavoidable in these cases. Faith or no faith these things are inexplicable and sad, and it can crawl up inside you and occupy your soul, virtually filling it corner to corner with sadness.
The faith required by the parents of this ill fated child will exceed the test load of many of us. It may exceed theirs. I pray for them, and I pray they will someday find peace through faith.

This opens up a thought process for me that is an old friend. I have spent more time thinking about this concept than is probably rational. That is why I call it an old friend.
We know this concept by an old adage. ‘Never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes’.
It is an old phrase. Some might find it so old and worn that it seems silly and out of date.
I think it is sterling silver advice.

We all think we know best for our friends and family. We think we know best for practically anybody in any situation. We criticize and we say it would be different for them if they would only listen to me.
So how do we separate helpful advice from the not so helpful? It’s a good question and I’m hoping you can help me with the question.
The media talking heads pontificate about the mistakes of our government leaders. They are journalists, yet somehow know exactly how to be the best president or defense secretary the country has ever had.
All around us are negative assessments of other people’s performance; sometimes we hear these assessments about our own performance from the loved ones around us.
We all know how to fix everyone else, yet struggle with our own problems, turning outside of ourselves for the answers, despite the fact that we are the ones walking our own personal mile in our own shoes.

I’m working my way toward a central point that if we have not had the experience they are going through, it might be better to just give them a hug and hold their hand while they work to find their truth in the matter.

An old friend came by to visit me yesterday. We share a baseball past. He pitched for Texas Tech and is a par golfer; a fine athlete. He brought me a Christmas present. It was an incredible present, a photo book that contained photos of the pre-game and every inning of last years World Series Game 4. He took all of the photos himself from his amazing front row seat. He then hand labeled each photo for me.

My friend is important in this post because he is in remission from cancer. His was a form of bone cancer that claims almost 100% of its hosts. He waged the fiercest and bravest struggle you can imagine. On second thought, I rescind that statement, because I think none of us can really imagine the degree of his struggle and his triumph.
His eyes sparkle and he lives with intensity. When he left yesterday after bringing me such a wonderful gift, he hugged me and told me that I was special. I had to very quickly compose myself, awkwardly I might add. I am not so special, but I believe he is.

My friend Jon spends his free time visiting the Arlington Cancer Center waiting room making new friends. New friends diagnosed with cancer. He’s holding their hands and propping them up and leading cheers in the biggest battle of their lives. He is their newest and best friend.

He has walked many miles in their shoes. Interestingly, his nickname has always been ‘Big Foot’. He leaves a big print for all of us to emulate.

I pray today that someone will help the parents of the ill fated child in Chicago; that they will be folks that have walked in the same shoes and really do know how to help.

The way my friend Jon knows how to help.

I feel better now.
Thanks Jon, for spreading life all around.


Robert Shapiro said...

My friend you have asked a most important question indeed. How to know the difference between opinions and advice offered by friends who may mean it with the best of intentions, that is of value and can be applied to your life and that which is not for you. It doesn't mean it's not of value but it is not meant to be applied to your life. It is simply meant to be let go and allowed to pass into the energy of the world of thought.
This is what I recommend. I'd recommend that you try something that has worked so well for me. It is a process, yes, it may not be immediately accessible but it works for me every day in all kinds of decisions. It is a physical feeling. I hope you find it to be of some value.
This is what I recommend. I recommend that you sit down in a comfortable chair in a quiet spot at a quiet time of the day - turn off the ringer on the phone so you won't be disturbed - and just ask for some quiet time from friends and family. Then put your hands on your heart area - just let them sit there and you'll notice probably, given your nature a feeling of warmth that is noticeable in your heart. Keep your hands there and let the feeling be present.
It might come up - that feeling of warmth might come up you see, in some other part of your body - perhaps your stomach or your solar plexus - maybe someplace else. When you notice that feeling of warmth see if you can just go into it - don't think about it - just go into that physical feeling of warmth and see if you can feel it more. I recommend then that every day or every other day you try to have that experience of physical warmth in your body - there's a reason.
Practice it for a week or two so that you can get to the point where you can just sit down or lay down quietly someplace and focus on feeling that physical warmth in your body even if it comes up in different places at different times - that's alright. It may come up here one day, there another day, that's fine. Maybe you won't have to put your hands on your body, maybe you will - either way is fine.
When you get good at this, you will then be able to use this as a physical means of: Yes, this is for me or there's another response in your body that is: No, this is not for me. It doesn't cast judgement however. It is simply - for you or not for you. I find this is a particularly appealing aspect of this work.
Then, what to do is this. I recommend that when advice comes to you no matter how logical and reasonable it is if you get an uncomfortable feeling about it then later on when you're on your own simply say out loud to yourself, "My friend gave me this advice today" and give a brief synopsis or just a couple of words about what he or she said. Notice how you feel in your physical body.
Do you feel warmth or do you feel a tightness or discomfort. If there is a tightness or discomfort just let it go right away. This means the advice no matter how well meant is not for you at least not in that form or not in that day. If you feel the warmth it means that this is for you or there is some aspect of it that may be advantageous for you to consider. If there is no feeling at all in your body, then rephrase the question and ask it another day. That's what I recommend.
It works well for me. I utilize it in all aspects of my life - not instead of thought but as well as thought. I find that my physical body has the capacity to offer this great form of intuitive wisdom to me and I hope it serves you well my friend.

Seven said...

Thanks Robby,
As usual, you take us out of our little mental boxes and into a larger thinking arena.
What you say dovetails nicely with some reading I have been doing on instictive reasoning.
Learning to trust your instinct comes easy for some, less easy for the analytical types like me.
Now so far as asking for quiet time from family....well, I guess you would have to know them!
Thanks for the thoughtful input.

Bigfoot said...

Rick, I am speachless, I am without speach. I thought a little more Seinfeld would not hurt. I look at Fate as a form of faith. Many times the Lord tests us when bad things happen. This includes untimely death, illness, and many other ways he goes about testing our FAITH. Why does the little boy die? Only God knows that, but the untimely death will test the Faith of the boys parents. Why should they be tested in this harsh manner? I cannot say anything for sure other than FAITH will be their savior. Faith for me says don't ask why, just deal with what you have to deal with. Dignity plays a part here, but who defines dignity. Many times I have asked myself the same things which you expressed sadness over. Faith again has to come into play as finaly you must trust in the lord. When it comes to the way an individual handles adversity, you see all kinds. Most of those folks have realized that it will not go away, so just have faith and live with it. Many times I watched as women come into the infusion center, get their chemo, and off they go to finish their day. It was like stopping to get their nails done. Now those women have gotten over their fate with Faith. just a thought, Jon

Seven said...

I will trust you on it all.
Your faith is a lesson in my life.
God's Care

Anne said...

Thank you Rick. I just printed your post and his comment to your post. He sounds like an amazing person. I hope that I get a chance to be like him to other people one day.