A few days ago Carole, a fellow-blogger, retold the story of the man sitting on his roof top, watching the flood waters rise. In desperation, he prayed for help. As the day unfolded, several rescuers came by, offering boats and helicopters to take him to safety. Each time he refused, saying that god would save him. As night fell he prayed again, this time deploring the absence of divine intervention.
At the time of reading, I chuckled … until yesterday, at 2:16 pm, when I realized that it was me sitting on the roof. For almost two years I’ve been lamenting the loss of the love of a woman (see: “how I learned to grieve” at the top of the screen). Having worked through the depths of grief, I felt grateful for an experience that had touched my heart so profoundly. Still, I continued to feel stuck, hoping (or “bargaining” in the grief cycle) that we’d be reunited at any day. I was convinced that the ingredients of this relationship–which included love, sex, art, family, Zen, and coming-home–were just too precious to occur more than once in a lifetime. Also, if I were to move on, I’d be defaulting in my promise to be faithful.
Then it happened: in the dying minutes of the wrap-up session with a therapist who’d helped me sort out some childhood trauma, I mentioned that “there’s just one more thing” and described my stuck-ness, how rare and unexpected this love had been, how I’d waited a lifetime for it to come along, and how I’d credited the Divine for the intervention. “And so it is with work at hospice,” I suddenly noticed, “who’d have thought I’d be called to do this wonderful work so late in life.”
Zapp! In that moment bright insight flooded over me as if struck by lightening. You’ve been blessed twice, the voice said. First, to experience love beyond comprehension; second, to be called to hospice work, where a wounded heart and a capacity for compassion are your most valued assets. Not one but two miracles. Not either/or, but both.