Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fear Not and Fly On (Part 3)



This is about the other side 

of the threshold.


Beyond calm...                   

                        beyond courage,


there is something

deeper still,

waiting

to

take

flight.


Here, 

there are wings

strong and sure

enough


to carry self

and child

to the place

beyond Fear.


~~~


We are all mysteries to each other,

but especially

in this way --

in the secret, inner dynamics of

things like

  Faith     

     and 

            Fear.


We cannot look at another person and see

their brain ticking 
with meticulous reason

or

their spirit soaring 
with voracious faith.

That's the black box nature of it --

We see what goes in/


we see what comes out.

But the operation? 

Unfathomable.

A black box is

"a system whose inner workings 

are unknown."

So...

we get

pretty good at

relating to

each other's

output,

don't we?

But there is so much more!

A whole world

within each persons'

opaque

encasement,

beyond the little hints

of face and voice,

beyond what they themselves

know themselves to be...


In the words of Brandon Broadwater,

"the highest level of observance

is the ability to see the inherent good

in others."

And so

deeper we must go...

~~~

Three months ago

I was strapped into the hot seat

of a plane going down.

Infinitely less dangerous

than my first airplane crash,

but terrifying nonetheless.

My

black

box

heart

should have been faltering, 

like the tremulous engine itself,

sputtering flames

and billowing smoke.

But it was strangely calm (part 1),

even courageous (part 2),

and I dare say,

bordering on

 fearless.



I have been doing more

forensics since then,

more black box analytics...

Because?



Because of the incredible results --

the incredible, lasting output;

the wonderful "Y" at the end.

This fascinating state of

fearlessness

on the other side,

has had me

prying open

the ghost and the machine,

the mechanics and the alchemy,

the innermost workings

of my "?-in-the-box"

Turning myself

inside out

to find the words

that would help reveal the workings

that would help reveal the wonder

of what happened inside me that day. 



So

here

we

go.

~~~

Certain gyrations 

were 

taking 

place

before engine & soul caught fire...


#1. I happened to be devouring a book 
during that plane ride:


by
Brene Brown


A provocative book,

about getting back up...

The perfect "in between engine failures" book.

All about the humble, gritty, inevitable 

falling down and failing

that accompanies the Vulnerable life. 



A basic soul-cruncher of a read,

mesmerizingly awful & liberating all at once.

As my soul gave its bigger yes

to the Daring Life,

pressure was mounting...

something had to give;


Forcible shocks to the crank case,

cracks in the engine,

wobbling in the mainframe,

like weakness in my character --

what to do

with the inevitable,

 vulnerable

me?


#2.  I was conveniently cornered 

in an in-flight 

therapy session

with my brother Ben and his wife Kelly.



My brother Ben and his son, Greyson, warming up in the ambulance later

               Six hours of                  

teeth-gritting,

edge-testing,

gut-bending

conversation

and I was grasping 

for the emergency exit door.

My pretty opaque layers 

were painfully peeling;

my bare wiring was fritzing and frying.

Tears were spilled --

the draining away

of self-protective measures,

like the oil 

already leaking 

from the engine.


#3.  Finally, most significantly --

the whole reason we were all in the plane:


My dear Grandma Vi.

Her funeral, just the day before.

Her presence, still swirling inside me.

Not as emptiness,

but surging, 


enlarging

capacity;

a fullness ready to burst.

Like high-powered piston-fists

smashing through engine walls,

like helplessness and fire,

I am reduced to

this:

a broken vessel.

An engine flawed and vulnerable indeed.

Emptied of vanity,

handed over to Hope...

and that

is 

when

it 

hit.

 My spirit-transfusion


of flagrant 

FEARLESSNESS.

I felt it flower

like an inheritance

of galvanizing grace

straight from my Grandma

and down through my Dad --

as if our little 
black boxes 
were 
stacked 
like 
Russian 
nesting 
dolls,

all lined up 

with lightening rod conductivity.


It was a stunning mid-alchemy moment.

Like I was inside their circuitry,

feeling their gears move.

Dad's meticulous Rationality and skill

were palpable in the air,

and I was lifted into Certainty

on the wings of his precision.

As well,

thrumming from beyond us both

-- through us both --

was a poignancy of Faith,

stronger, deeper,

and sweetly scented Violet...

Grandma's own 

indomitable 

outpouring.

Full dose,

lion's share.

It was a fire-falling moment 

of chutzpah fulfilled --

of receiving

what I had asked for.

Yes.


I had asked for this...

Just the day before, 


as the warm sun 

streamed red and blue through 

the slivers of stain-glass,

as my tears glazed the words 

of Amazing Grace,

as I reverberated with

the trumpet blast eulogies of

Grandma's indomitable life...

she felt so intimately present,

that I felt moved to ask

with the earnest chutzpah

(shameless audacity)

of a favoured grand-daughter,

"Please let me inherit 
a double portion 
of your spirit." 

(2 Kings 2:9)

How can I explain it, 

except to say,

I was aching to take her with me,

into me...

into who I would become.

To be like her:


in·dom·i·ta·ble

meaning: impossible to subdue or defeat. 

invincible, unshakeable, 

unconquerable, unbeatable, 

unassailable, unsinkable.

That's who she was.

Supernaturally

indomitable.

People after the funeral

were milling about asking, 

"How did she do it?"

They were flummoxed

by the black box gap between

her circumstances and her resilience.

The output of her 91 years was undeniable --

blazing with unquenchable victory,

and yet...

how 

did

she

do

it?

I knew how.

I knew.

Not from studying the externals,

but from the inside.

Because

my dear Grandma

 has always lived in my bones

like John Chapter 15.


I have loved her like a vine.

I have sat in her timeless lap.

I have received her indomitable elixer:

the slow-drip 

savouring

ingestion of the truth 

that


"All is well"

~~~

Shall we get even more concrete?



I can tell you

what was fuelling her

inner workings...



Two simple creeds:


"SHE HAS NO FEAR 
FOR HER HOUSEHOLD"

and

"SHE LAUGHS 
AT THE DAYS TO COME"

  The vivacious and elegant Violet Wilson, 

who could leap onto countertops 
in a single bound,

power-housed through every line

of Proverbs 31,

but these two she exuded

with a calibre beyond compare.


Violet and Clare, just married


Can you imagine having no fear

over your household?

over your children?

Raising 4 wild boys and a princess

while running her own photography business,

managing Grandpa's Optometry clinic,

and volunteering around town,


she let her kids roam wild on their own...

building rafts, climbing cliffs, 

stumbling home at sun down.



She was also pilot herself,

having slept in a tent at the airport

to get her license.


So she had lots of her own near-death 

airplane experiences to practice

being indomitable in the air.


One particular emergency

everything was against them.


Grandpa, at the controls, was in total panic.


Visibility was nil, the wings were icing,


they were forced to climb higher and higher


until the little Tiger could climb no more.


At this point,

Grandma reached into the back


for a sandwich and said,


"I know we might die.  


But I don't want to die hungry."

Pragmatically unafraid, 


not because she was 


detached from life,


but because she was anchored in


a deeper Life.




Some people may be born 

into the land of fearlessness & laughter.

Others have to choose it.

 What may be most incredible of all

is to remain & abide there --

to spread wide one's tents there,

and die as one it its faithful citizens.

Grandma wrote this prayer

before going into the nursing home:


"Let me laugh as long as possible."

And she did.

She laughed at the days to come, 

until there weren't any left.



I know what it is to

abide

-- the way God says

"abide in me and I in you" --

because my Grandma

was an abode.

She grafted me in to the Goodness.

The Indomitable Goodness.

~~~

So this is how I try to parent...


Raising my hope-filled arms,

like a life-giving tabernacle of vines;

I am the shelter.

I declare

with my soft, strong walls

that Life is Good;

that I have no fear for my household.


I have raised my kids in the assurance

that Life is Good,

and beneath this canopy

they have spread their wings.


~~~


Families 
really are

little
Russian
doll
black 
boxes
stacked
together.

I am who I am

because I was

 blessedly steeped

in my Father's imperturbable calm

and my Grandmother's indomitable joy

and their God's unfathomable love.

~~~

So, this is what 

I have found

the "?" of Faith to be,

in my experience:


All of your old 

familiar bearings 

shall be starved

of their soothing,

self-smoothing ways,

and you shall be thrust into trust --

into the churning,

unbearable friction

which is really a portal --


into the storm,


into the thin, dead air


of a mortal Mayday,


and yet 

you shall KNOW,

with a peace that passes understanding,

that you are 

"in Good Hands."



Faith

 is soaring

on


wings


that are


invisible



when your physical wings

are aflame and failing.




Or maybe for you,

it's nothing like that at all.

As I said in the beginning,

Faith is a pretty hard one to see into it.

It takes a lot of forensics 

to pin it down

in its moment-by-moment happening.

But you can always see the "Y"

beaming out of a person...

in their resilient laughter,

their child-like chutzpah,

their resounding mantra of

"fear not!

behold!

I bring you glad tidings

of great joy!"



So if you see a blazing Faith in this world,

help yourself,

gulp it up,

swallow it down,

ask for more.


It is Christmas after all :)


As for me,

freely I have received

this sweet, contagious spirit,

and I welcome you, my friend,

 to all I have.

~~~


"She comes sailing on the wind,

her wings flashing in the sun;

on a journey just begun,

she flies on.

And in the passage of her flight,

her song rings out through the night,

full of laughter, full of light,


she flies on."


-hymn sung by Vi's children and grandchildren 
Sept, 2015



2 comments:

  1. Love this, on so many levels. Thanks for sharing such strong hope and spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing, Ginette. We've all been anxiously awaiting the Part 3 post, and it was just as epic as the rest. Your writing and your insights are a beautiful gift.

    ReplyDelete