Friday, February 17, 2012

Whistle in the Wilderness or Too Loved to Fail



My friend Cathie and I go on a five-mile walk nearly every Friday morning. We usually walk around our neighborhoods, but a few weeks ago, she took me out to a big, hilly field on the outskirts of town. It’s not an official hiking trail, but the field is criss-crossed with paths that go over and up hills, around high-standing grasses and bushes.

As we walked through the low valleys and steep hills that hide the rocky crevices between them, Cathie told me when her sons were young, she brought them to this same field to run and play. Before she let them go, however, she gave each of them a whistle and told them if they ever felt like they were lost or scared, to just blow the whistle and she’d come and find them.

This story resonated with me.

A few months ago, I had believed I would stay married the rest of my life, but then I was thrown (pushed) off that path completely, without warning or preparation. Suddenly, I was in a landscape I didn’t recognize. Unstable, unsteady, and unprepared, I couldn’t get my bearings. I was lost. I felt as if I were in a hole and didn’t have the strength to get up and move out of it.

Scared and cold, I felt an unfamiliar and frightening darkness encroaching.

Then, in desperation, I gathered a tiny amount of strength and sent out a faint and feeble whistle for help.

Miraculously and instantly, my friends and family stopped in their tracks when they heard it. They turned from their own lives and came to help me. Each of them, in his or her own way, rushed to find me. They helped me up, pulled me back on the track, nursed my wounds and stood, watching me walk for a little bit before they hesitantly went back to their own lives.

This network of good people (including my blogging buddies) came together to form a braided chain, which I gratefully grabbed onto to help me up and out of the deepest of hole of my life.


One night, while I was still in early-recovery mode, I was at dinner with a group of my good friends. They had dragged me out of my house, out of my cocoon of pain and into the land of the living. There was laughter all around the table, and I found myself smiling for the first time in weeks. I thought how lucky I was to have these people in my life and then I thought of all my other friends, my family members, and my dear, sweet sons.

Suddenly these words came into my head: I am too loved to fail.

It was a beautiful, simple phrase that I heard again as I looked at the faces of the people surrounding me. I am too loved to fail.

I understood with all my being that this phrase was not a tribute to me, but to all those people who had listened and responded to my whistle in the wilderness.

I knew at that moment I had no choice but to go on and succeed in my new life.

I had too many people surrounding me, supporting me, believing in me.

It was time to honor their faith in me.


So, here I am now, making my own way on the path again, and even on those days when the visibility is low, when the rain starts to fall, and the trail is rocky, I plunge ahead because that is what I need to do. That is what I want to do.

It feels good to be back with the other hikers of the world. I am no longer huddled in that dark hole, but upright, strong and striding ahead, on the crest of a new path, and, I have to say, the view from this vantage point looks incredibly promising.

Since my life is not in emergency mode any longer, my friends and family have been able to relax some too. That braided chain with its many strong fibers has, over the course of these past few weeks, softened, relaxed and spread out to form a net underneath me that I know is there should I ever start to fall again.


The best part of my recovery? Now, that my own whistle no longer fills my ears, I can once again be attentive and listen for others who need help.

In the end, I believe that is what makes us fully human; that is our duty in the world.

We are here to help each other out, to give each other support, and to tell those who need it the most:

Here, take my hand.

You can do it.

You are too loved to fail.


47 comments:

Linda said...

Well said, dear Bossy.

Leah J. Utas said...

What a great way to look at it and to put it.
Excellent post, Betty.

Marg said...

That sounds like such a fun thing to do to take a nice walk like that every Fri. And it is healthy for you too. Hope you have a terrific week end.

Daisy said...

What a wonderful post, Betty. That was told as only you can tell it. You have such a talent for moving people's hearts with your words. I hope you have a great weekend!

Anne Gallagher said...

What a beautiful sentiment...You are too loved to fail. And so true. I'm so glad you're feeling so much better.

Flartus said...

That "too loved to fail" feeling has been with me throughout my life. Although I have dealt with depression, I always knew suicide was never in the cards, because I loved and was loved too much in return.

That idea of our mission in life being to listen for others' whistles and to help them back on the path--that's the essence of the message I get from the teachings of that Jesus fellow. (Not that he's got a monopoly on that sort of thing.) I think being a teacher neatly fulfills that mission.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Excellent. Happy Friday, Betty! ☺

SueAnn said...

Yes you are!!! Thanks for the reminder. He always sends someone to give us the encouragement we need.
Hugs
SueAnn

ellen abbott said...

what a beautiful post.

Lin said...

Betty, I think your family and friends just encouraged and called out to the strength deep inside you to come out. I think you had it all along, you just needed to call on it--and they knew it. We all knew it.

I know you still struggle and there is still some difficulty that lies ahead, but you have come so far! I love how you don't convey bitter or angry. Okay, so you might be, but you certainly don't express it. I'm not sure I could be so darn put together to be like that--you are something, Betty. Some. Thing. :)

*high five*

Out on the prairie said...

Very nice analogy. I think many feel their life is totally over, and that revaltion comes to remind them that their new life is just beginning.

Pearl said...

Perfect. Truly perfect.

And yes. Too loved to fail. I shall hold that close...

Pearl

Madi and Mom said...

Morning BB...I love your 'Victory' post today!! Family and Friends are indeed out life line and you have a life line stretching across this most magnificent USA!!
Hugs Madi and Mom

Sarah said...

You have made amazing progress in such a short time, and most impressively, you can turn around and extend help to others. Hats off to you, Betty.

Old Kitty said...

Awww BB! It's nice to know that if ever I feel the need to blow my whistle lovely people like you will come running to help me find the path again! Yay! Take care
x

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful phrase and sentiment, Betty.

Ami said...

Lovely. And so true. The love we create between friends has a life of its own.

And the kind of friends who help create it are the best people in the universe.

Robin Larkspur said...

I have been reading your blog for many months now, and this is my first time commenting. I have ached for your pain, and been so angry about how you were treated, and now I read this beautiful post, and am thrilled at your strength and commitment to be whole and one with the world! You are not only too loved to fail, but you understand the ins and outs of this life better than a lot of people who have never really been tested. Bright blessings to you, and I know you will not only get stronger, you will bloom brighter than ever!! Hugs, Robin.

jenny_o said...

You always have such great imagery in your writing, and this is no exception - a braided chain softening to become a safety net. I really like that.

Lovely thoughts. So happy you are forging ahead.

Brian said...

Yep, you don't need any silly whistle!

Sush said...

How do you keep doing this so beautifully...expressing your thoughts and experiences in such a poignant and artful manner? I was brought to tears and have this warm feeling in my heart for you, your journey and your path forward.
Good for you, how far you've grown...and thank you for sharing and teaching the rest of us how to be strong and carry on with class and still show love to others.
Hugs~

Joyful said...

It's so great to hear your heart is on the mend. Hugs. xx

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hold that knowledge close to your heart and live well,Betty.
xo jj

Retired English Teacher said...

That is a great phrase to remember. I truly hope you put all of this together someday and write a book. You then could help others just as so many have helped you.

Love the braided rope. I will remember that too.

Ms. A said...

I knew you could do it, it was just a matter of YOU KNOWING YOU COULD DO IT! You are a strong woman and it shows, even when you were feeling vulnerable.

Gigi said...

What an absolutely beautiful and heartfelt post, Betty. Too loved to fail, I like that...I'm going to put that one in my memory banks - because we all need to remember that at some time or another.

Hugs to you. Have a great weekend!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I knew from the first time you shared with us you were too strong to fail. Many of your posts have brought tears to my eyes but you've also uplifted me many times with your strong spirit.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a wonderful analogy - and an awesome attitude.
And you can't fail - you're too ornery!

Catherine said...

Betty ~ what a beautiful post! So many wise and wonderful words and thoughts here. Very inspirational my friend!

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
xo Catherine

ds said...

Oh, Betty, this is marvelous. Beautiful and wise. Good for you!! You are a very very strong woman.
Thank you for sharing this.

Susan said...

What a beautiful post. Sometimes we feel we have nothing, and then something happens that shows us an appreciation we never thought possible. I have emphysema and COPD. Every morning when the sun shines in my window, I realize what a wonderful gift God has given me. Another wonderful day to do whatever I want with.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.
Susan
http://www.squidoo.com/vegetarian-nutritional-tips

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Darn you for practically making me cry as I got to the end of this post. Thanks, I needed that.
Much love,
xoRobyn

BECKY said...

Betty, I always say you write so beautifully, but this post must be your best yet. I'm truly speechless...and that doesn't happen to me! :)

I'm so happy that I've also been part of your blog friends. And I truly believe in what you said:

"In the end, I believe that is what makes us fully human; that is our duty in the world. We are here to help each other out, to give each other support, and to tell those who need it the most:

Here, take my hand.
You can do it.
You are too loved to fail."

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Betty! Your post gave me chillbumps all over.

You do know WHOSE voice whispered those words inside your head, don't you?

You do know Who wanted you to know that, right?

Your friends are His gifts to you.

He loves you so much.

Kleinste Motte said...

I love this post. It is full of optimism. You are very blessed to see that you are well loved. But know that it is because you are a caring person too.

Shan said...

Indeed. <3

Hilary said...

This is perfect. It's beautiful and it made me tear up.

Kazzy said...

You are an example to all of us!

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! Darn allergies!
Betty, you are too loved to fail...

Leanne said...

Beautiful . . . yours words reach right through to my heart, dear Betty, and leave me with the truest meaning of love. Thanks for being here.

Tabor said...

What a STUNNING and wonderful tribute to friendship and love. Bless you, my dear.

Sandi McBride said...

I am going to have to thank Hilary for leading me here. I knew when you wrote of all your friends that you find that lifeline to pull you out of the deep dark cave you found yourself in...the problem is some people just won't recognize that they too are too loved to fail...instead they wallow in self pity and wander ever deeper down that dark cold corridor...I am so very happy that you found your way. Congratulations on choosing life! I am very happy to become a follower Betty!
Sandi

TexWisGirl said...

wonderfully written. God bless you. and congrats on your POTW.

Reena Walkling said...

Stopped over from Hilary's. Glad I did. What a beautifully written post! And so .. continue to march forward and open your arms wide. You'll be amazed what the world brings to you.

christinemyoung said...

I'm moved by your words and your wisdom. I now have a beautiful vision in my mind of the net of love that is always there when we are strong enough to ask <3

Baby Sister said...

"You are too loved to fail." I love that. I'm going to steal that quote and hang it up somewhere one of these days. I'm happy that you're doing better, Betty. :) You are an inspiration to me!!

The Empress said...

OH, Betty.

This. This I couldn't have imagined. When I think, and go back and see the growth...I think of all the ways it could have gone.

You were so destroyed. The pain was one I felt because you were in the thick of it.

But this? This rising from the ashes? Beyond anything I could have prayed for you.

I wanted you to just make it, but to see you refined by the fire...I have tears in my eyes.