My father, a physician, used to give talks about healthy diet and lifestyle. One story that he used to tell has really stuck with me.
Once there was a little town located beside a wide and perilous river. Occasionally townspeople would rush to the aid of someone who had fallen in upriver. At great risk to their own lives, they would mobilize and save a hapless stranger from drowning. As time went by, and more and more of these rescues began to occur, the little town developed an excellent rescue aid society. They had their own boats and equipment. They held fundraisers to support the River Rescue Society. Volunteers trained long hours.
Over time, more and more people came floating by, in peril of drowning, and the town’s rescue crew grew and grew. They began to post watchers on the shoreline because the numbers of people in need of rescue had begun to increase monumentally. It was all the little town could do to keep up with the work. But they were proud of their River Rescue Society.
One night, at a town meeting, the topic on the table for discussion was (once again) the need for more money to fund the Rescue Society. They were now in need of full-time watchers on the shore and more money for training and research into the best techniques for safely pulling people out of the river. Finally a quiet woman who had been knitting in the corner stepped up to the microphone and asked, “Perhaps we ought to send someone upriver to discover who is pushing all these people in?”
Yesterday, I found out that yet another friend of mine has cancer. Leukemia. Two friends of mine are walking with their mothers through the rocky terrain of breast cancer at the moment. I find it alarming and disconcerting, the way we just accept that cancer is a way of life for us now. I’m glad that we’re working so hard on the rescue side of this story. I am so grateful for the treatment options for my friends, for my friends’ mothers, for your friends and family members. It seems to me that in recent years, the number of people floating down this particular river has increased rather dramatically. What are we going to do about figuring out who is pushing them in?
We can start, I think, by letting the dandelions grow. Refusing to put chemicals on our lawns and gardens. Cleaning our houses with soap and water and vinegar instead of chemicals. We can pay attention to the food we put into our bodies, where it comes from, what practices were used to grow it. We can stop drinking out of plastic containers. These things will not ensure that we don’t fall in the river ourselves, but they might begin to slow down the numbers of people who do. We need to take a look upriver, and find out who has been pushing all these people into the river.
1. A lovely day yesterday with my mother-in-law
2. Singing together–I love that my son joins in with the hymns in church
3. Community–how it falls together sometimes, how we can also work to build and maintain it intentionally
4. Anticipation (as edgy as it can make me, I love having possibilities to dream)
5. Language and the gifts it offers to our reasoning brains
May we walk in Beauty!