There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
Just yesterday morning, before 6, I watched the colors of the pre-sunset coming together.Good colors, penetrating my busied soul.At the present hour, we have snow flying in.Maybe three, four, inches. There is a fire in the fireplace; I guess that is why they call it a fireplace; I hope the chill in my body will fade. One of the dogs is out like a light, on the couch. We recently moved. When I consider this dispatch to thepast, I know that most of us have moved, several times. Some of us more than others.I always was a runner, then.There is less running now, in my present.The paradox is
obvious.In this dispatch, I consider the past: memories, friends, challenges, disappointments, great blessings. Yet none of you are there, in the past.We’ve all moved on.And, for the most part, we are all thankful for that.I miss you all. One day, we will all catch up.
A previous post about my father, “Dad Man”, surfaced recently, in my mind. The nickname came about from me and my brothers. More commonly known as Bill Davis, he was referred to by his close friends as “Billy”, or “Wild Bill”. My Dad finished his race well that morning, June 24th of last year (2016), transitioning into eternity. The U.S. Navy provided a flag ceremony at his funeral. Dad served as the XO (executive officer), reporting to the commander. Dad cruised the South Pacific in WW2 on the
USS PGM 22, a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, sweeping and detonating mines. My search for a picture of my Dad’s ship came up empty. I did find a picture of a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, of the same class as Dad’s USS PGM 22. The SC-497 was an off-shore patrol and anti-submarine warfare vessel.
During WW2, most minesweepers were mechanical. “Sweeps”, or “sweep wires”, were submerged into the water, down to where the cable held the mine in place. The sweep wires of the minesweeper then cut the cable, sending the mine up to the surface. A sharpshooter then detonated the mine. The first drawing is of a mechanical minesweeper.
The second drawing is of a more advanced minesweeper, which uses a “pavane”, similar in shape to a small plane. My imagination places me on Dad’s ship, the USS PGM 22, Dad in his U.S. Navy khakis. I would have sat in the briefings, in the back, with others, while he issued the ship’s orders, and talking to the guys. Now Dad Man is up in the heavens, cruising on a most excellent patrol boat minesweeper, where there are no mines, hanging out with all of his shipmates, and other Navy guys he never met in the war. This post is about the grieving and loss we experience; and the joy of knowing others we love and care deeply about. We explore the lives of those who have gone before us, who have finished their race. We are on our own ships … maneuvering through the mines, using our sonar, thankful for a new day.
A man, a woman, sit together, no joy … just pain. They have come to see the seer, with the hope that she will see … something. Something that the two haven’t seen. Something that will help them push through the desert, a harsh desert; and come out on the other side. The seer hopes to see well, into and through, the fog, the pain, the guardedness. The seer has every bit as much hope that the two, across from her, will be able to see … that they will see those pieces that connect with freedom.
“How important is it, to you, that you do see?”
The two appear to be stunned, as if no one has ever asked them that question. And, maybe, no one ever has. They appear to be stunned, as the question is not just a question; they are being “called out” … called out to take a step forward and see, even if they encounter something that they don’t want to see. So they run that question, from the seer, through their hearts and minds … to the point that they both ask themselves a different question, “Am I really ready to be here?”
“We want to be here, and we want to see.”
“The information you communicated on your voicemail I received tells me that you are here to work on your marriage. Depending on what that means … ‘to work on your marriage’ … it may be difficult, painful to see what is problematic about your relationship with each other. Keep your courage close, your vision alive, your hope strong. Now, let us see what we can see.”
The scenario, above, is a context of seeing; a small allegory. Allegories and metaphors are powerful, for me, in two ways: teaching, and my own processes of grappling with thoughts I am attempting to resolve. In my last post (6/24/16), I wrote about my father, Bill Davis, who had passed away that morning. The grief issue, I am indeed grappling with and attempting to resolve, but I am quite stuck. To grieve, I think, requires that I “see”; that I see well. I was talking to another therapist not too long ago. I expressed to her that … me being a therapist, one would think that I would have a good handle on grief, and how to “do it”. She said something that validated some of my cognitive disruption: “I have found that many therapists avoid grief whenever possible.” Ironic. The grief process can be quite different for each person. For me, I am seeing different scenarios where Dad was involved. And the seeing brings about some disruption, some joy, some great sorrow, some anger. But grief is not the only context for us, where seeing is so profound. Seeing comes into play, some days more than others. When I worked with at-risk adolescents, I found myself seeing something that I truly did not want to see. It takes courage to see. It is also a gift to see. I find truth in the seeing; and I find comfort in the seeing. And in meaningful relationships, we must be able to see. Throughout all of this, there is strategic seeing. If we are in the thick of ot, it is not difficult to see … that we are indeed in the thick of it. In times like that, we must dig down into our heart and soul, and see the hope … see the truth that there is a bigger picture. The chaos does not define us. That’s all for now.
“Healer”, not literally. In the realm of relationships, “healer” connects with change. “We are hurt in relationships, we find healing in relationships.” (Anonymous). This post is a metaphorical narrative.
The healer …
comes to the thick of the wilderness, starts her fire, stokes the fire, pulls a few sitting-stumps close, and sits by the fire. The healer’s eyes are kind, with a spark; seeing deeper into the wilderness of men and women. Seasoned, calm countenance, the healer brings to the wilderness hope … hope never given lightly, never received lightly. This healer is a redemptive disruptor.
Sojourners come to this place in the wilderness to see the healer, to sit by the fire; a fire that brings light in the night. Some sojourners want to be known, want to be seen; others cautious of being known, being seen. The fire is a healing process: at times unpleasant, illuminating incorrect thinking, problematic emotions. Sojourners face the healing of the flame, with different styles of avoidance. In the wilderness, some things need to change, some things need to go.
Sojourner sits across from the healer, the other side of the fire; cautiously and respectfully, for a short period. The healer listens, thinks about the spoken, thinks about the unsaid. The healer speaks, while listening, her words are healing words; questions intentional; silence accentuated. I am reminded of a dialog in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (my paraphrase):
Peter: “Is he (Aslan the lion) safe?”
Mr. Beaver: “Is he safe? No! He is not safe. But he is good.”
The healer’s eyes, not always safe. But they are good. Change agents are that way. The healer’s mind is good, but not readable. The healer’s work is important, but not predictable. The sojourner’s stay is for a short time, meeting with the healer; leaves with peace; a sacred, arcane, peace.
The story is all over the net. I simply wanted to express my a) appreciation for this story, and b) desire to see this story passed on through the generations. One man made a choice to think beyond himself, beyond his world, and to respond with a prolific, uncommon, creative, action. Here is an oversimplified glimpse of the Santa Tracker, with hopes that you will check out one of the two links below.
NORAD is the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD, inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, CO. One night, in 1955, a call came in on a red phone at NORAD, a number known only by two people: a four-star general in the Pentagon, and the U.S. Air Force colonel who had that red phone on his desk. The caller was a child, who asked “Is this Santa Claus?”
How the U.S. Air Force colonel responded is … quite profound. So, here are two links to choose from: