Sunday, June 8, 2014
“If you really believe in what you're doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.” — Laurie Notaro
While I was with Pete, who is 74, we got to talking about how much he has accomplished in the last few years even with all his physical and fiscal problems. That led to talking about Karen who is 71 now and all that she has done and is continuing to do even at her age and with her health issues. Pete began to talk about all that I had accomplished in the last ten years with all the physical problems I have had and continue to battle and even though I am the youngest at 69, I will be 70 in November. We are all like bumblebees—no scientist can explain how they can fly, but fly they do. We decided it was our passion to help others that drives us and overcomes almost every obstacle that life puts in front of us. We love what we are doing and could not imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else. I told Pete we were like old donkeys, which he took as a bit of an insult until I explained by telling him a story I have been telling since I first heard it in Curitiba, Brazil, in the mid 90’s. It’s about an old farmer and a donkey that he had raised and loved very much. One day that farmer's donkey fell down into an empty well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasn't worth it to try and retrieve the donkey. So the farmer asked his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, when the donkey realized what was happening he cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. The farmer didn’t understand why the donkey was quiet and was himself crying as he continued to shovel. The farmer cried so loudly that even some some of his neighbors began to cry as well. When they were almost through filling the well, to everyone's amazement, the donkey just stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off. You see, with every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey shook it off and took a step up onto the pile of dirt under his hooves until soon he was back at the top of the well. Life will always dump dirt on you—will you let it bury you, or will you shake it off and rise above it? Pete, Karen and I have learned to shake dirt off with the best of them. We refuse to let it bury us. Christ did more than save our souls when He died and rose for us. He also gave us a reason and a way to shake off the ills (and dirt) of this world. We three are too old, too sick, and too weak to survive and thrive, but we do. There is light at the top of the empty well unless you let the dirt cover you with darkness. We choose the light. You should, too.