Monday, April 1, 2013

Frustration and the one hundred ways to Sunday

Seeing “911” as if through a waxed paper veil might have been the moment of a singularly, significant transformation for me; the moment of realizing that blind I was seeing that which others seemed to not be noticing, especially the dark in the light and the light in the dark.

Right from the start of my term of blindness (Labor Day weekend, 1998) I had drawn on words of Helen Keller’s to guide me through my ordeal –
“The spiritual world offers no difficulty to one who is deaf and blind. Nearly everything in the natural world is as vague, as remote from my senses, as spiritual things seem to the minds of most people."

What I saw when I
was blind.
This was the wisdom that brought me through my test of blindness. And so I did survive and even manage, it seems, to bring myself to a kind of thriving, after the fact. Certainly I seem, now, ten years into my life of regained eye sight to be blessed with a way of viewing the world that brings with it a certain knowing beyond ordinary.  

Only those I’ve met or read of, returned from near death experiences, seem kindred to this way of being that is mine. Yet what I experienced and learned from being blind does not readily translate into words. Thus,  if and when I can converse with these chosen people, dialogue is a bit like hunt and peck. Each attempts to build bridges of shared understanding where only hints of like-experience can be gleaned.

Perhaps my longing, when I was blind, to be able to write, again, for a public audience and revive the non-profit organization I founded, New Horizons Support Network, Inc. was a means of visioning myself as connected to the greater world in meaningful activities, as I had been before I lost my eyesight.

In those days, however, I had a loyal following of devoted students who, whole-heartedly, believed in me and the guidance I provided. I could be counted on to lead them out of, even life-threatening struggles; out of their darkness into the light of clarified perspectives and reliable solutions.  Thus my humble presence was dignified by the respect I was accorded. Then, as now, I was known for my ability to see the dark in the light and the light in the dark.
Conversely, these days, while I still attract responsiveness, by grace of some inherent gift that has always been mine, I find myself, at times, so inordinately challenged by the newcomers in my life that I find myself, sometimes, feeling as if I am under personal attack. These, the new “others” of my life are, no doubt, equally frustrated, finding themselves drawn to me -- and what New Horizons seems to promise -- yet almost fearful of drawing too near lest they, somehow, be duped into an unknown something awful.   

Admittedly, leadership has not exemplified integrity, often enough, in recent years. However, leadership has not ever been a quest for privilege, power or control over others in me. So with compassion for these seekers of something I am carrying; a certain wisdom and knowledge that is uniquely mine, I handle their challenges and confrontations with apparent patience and good nature.

But never do these encounters result in the fun and connectedness I’d like to be having with these exemplary individuals. This is the unknown something better for which I yearn; the camaderie of being known as one who is not an “other” that only trust, time and love can bring.

One newcomer to our volunteer team even had, somewhat, of a nightmare about how dangerously misleading I/we might be. I responded kindly to this test. Yet, it left me realizing that, at times, I am so weary of this long, hard trek that is my return to mainstream normalcy. Then, for a moment, I think I would do anything I could to simply return to the cocoon I built for myself during the years I was blind, living almost completely removed from the world. But this is not so simple, nor would I truly want it ever again.

Still, there are, at least, one hundred ways to Sunday. I have mine. Each other person has their own unique pathway. Mine is a hunger for the walk that is the art of leaning in toward one another with clarity and in peace and harmony. So I am hoping that things will turn round right, if we each do our best.  Above and beyond all we do, all, need our "zones of peace."

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