Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where do you turn?

Where do you turn when you don't have the answer? When you don't know what to do? When you don't know where to go? When you don't know what to say? When you don't know how to fix it?

The phone rang at 11:30pm. The dreaded police call.
"There's been a accident." Breathing stops.
"But your daughter is OK. She is at the University Hospital trauma center."
"Thank you. I'll be there in twenty minutes."
"No. Please wait by your phone. A doctor needs to speak with you."
Then a doctor calls back, "Your daughter has suffered head trauma and needs emergency brain surgery. Do we have your permission to operate?"
How can she be OK and need brain surgery?
How can I not give my permission?
Will she survive the surgery?

My mother arrived for a visit immediately after I gave birth to my first child. Mom never did get comfortable in our rented trailer in the Tennessee woods. She loved the baby but couldn't stay more than a couple days. As soon as her plane flew out of the airport, we packed everything we owned and headed for a job in Georgia but ended up in Missouri. The baby spend the whole third week of her life in a gold '57 Chevy. Where do we go now? What about the baby?

A co-worker invited me to join her in a beginning weaving class meeting in a nearby town one night a week. Interesting. Yes, I'd go. After a sampler where we learned technique and pattern variations, each student set up their own project. I designed a plaid scarf. As one color waded out, the next waded in. Much like the problems of life.

Each unanswered question brings the problem more clearly into view. As the problem looms larger and larger we must not forget the next step, the step out of the problem, is present.

Yesterday David and I attended our eldest granddaughter's graduate commencement. In her welcoming address the college president referred to a Japanese story about a large forest fire. The fire grew so intense that all the wildlife fled from the flaming forest. All except a single hummingbird. The tiny bird flew away from the forest to a small pond, filled his beak with water then flew back to the flames and dropped the water. He continued trip after trip carrying water to his burning home. When the other creatures asked why he continued his hard work, he answered, "I do what I can."

LESSON: Today in the face of the world problem looming larger and larger, watch for the thread of the next step.