It’s been a while since I did more than send you random e-mails or wonderful old music found on UTube. This morning, I’m being lazy and enjoying a break in the heat and the sounds of crickets and other unseen insects coming up from the park a block away. The porch becomes a little oasis with its shade and the soft breeze generated by the ceiling fan.
Last Thursday, I wrote a post about words failing, and my daughter inquired about whether somebody had died. I told her no, but I had been thinking of someone who wasn’t doing well. I felt compelled to write about what for me is a difficult subject – consoling the grieving. Friday afternoon, I was writing on the new book when suddenly I went dizzy and felt as if I was going to pass out. The whole world was spinning. I quickly put down the laptop, and retreated to the bed. I was soaking in sweat. Then a cool breeze began to blow, my world once again was stable, and I was amazingly calm. I told Suzy and Terry what had happened, and we all attributed it to dehydration as a result of a fever I had run a few days earlier. I agreed to call the doctor if it happened again. I went about my business and a few hours later I got an email that a very close and dear friend had died – John T. Pappas. He was over 95, but alert and full of life to the end. He helped me in incalculable ways. I will send you his obituary when it appears. Interstingly, he was not the man I was thinking about when I wrote the post. The e-mail said he had died at approximately the same time as I had my dizziness attack. Tom, there are some things it doesn’t do to think about, as Suzy’s grandmother used to say.
Like I said the fever I experienced this last week was the first time I’ve run a fever since the surgery, and I admit at first a little trepidation. It was a reminder that I need to continue to be grateful for the miraculous healing that occurred as a result of the transplant, but to be equally grateful for the less dramatic experiences every day as well. All healing – spiritual, mental, and physical – though not all rapid or dramatic, is worthy of our recognition and thanks to God.
Which brings me to my last thought. Contrary to my own good judgment and the advice I give to others, I have been engaging in a few “what ifs” and “kicking myself.” No a little self-assessment is not a bad thing, but I was engaging in those internal conversations that can soon spiral down beyond control. The subject was too high of goals, and not living within my own limitations. Had I gotten the big head and gotten out of my league? Had I reached too much for the stars? More, importantly I found myself asking myself was I beginning to do it again. Dreaming about the unobtainable, and not recognizing my limitations.
I spent a little extra time reading this weekend, and found a phrase and passage I liked.
A preacher and his congregation bought some land to build first a small building to house the congregation, and they had plans that over the years as the membership grew they would one day build a church to glorify God. His plan was very practical. He took a friend out to the land, showed him their plans for the small building, and asked what his friend thought, clearly bursting with pride. His friend was quiet, he was not known for mincing his words.
He finally spoke, “My friend, your plan is an insult to God.”
The preacher was devastated, but his friend continued. “God calls us all to take a leap of faith, to dream, and to move mountains.” The story of course has a happy ending in keeping with “if you build it he will come.” That’s not always the case, but the message is what I needed to hear as well. Sometimes we dream beyond our capabilities and fail, but we should still have dreamed. It’s the journey, the leap of faith, that’s important.
Sorry to be so wordy. Thanks for listening. Your friend. Webb
I was concerned to hear about your dizziness experience and fever, and relieved to hear that it passed, and that there was a learning moment in the experience for you. Life has a lot of those for us, doesn’t it.
I started to grow concerned again when I read about your thinking you were reaching too high. First, you really need to appreciate how much of a model you set for many of us through the high ideals and aspirations that you carry for yourself. By your setting your goals so high, it inspires me and , I know, many others… some of whom you’ve never met… to reach for the stars too.
I’ve referenced Pir Vilayat Khan, a great Sufi teacher who died in 2004. He said, “The process of spiritual development is an expansion, and this expansion is brought about by the widening of the outlook. The outlook depends upon the attitude of mind. If a mind is focused to thinking of small things, then this process of widening the outlook will not be completed. … Spiritual progress is the lifting of the consciousness in order that the consciousness may expand to perfection.”
The entire planet in these troubled times needs people like you showing the way toward a broadened outlook and deep consciousness. Keep shooting for the stars, Webb.