New reader William sent in this beautiful miracle about a flood that washed through his desert home recently. I love the metaphor of the blades of grass poking through the mud – it’s one I might have to steal someday!
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A recent heavy rain caused the most severe flood in the memory of this little valley’s residents. A thick layer of mud was deposited over my lawns burying the grass. The bright side is that my new mud flats are more level and even than the lawns ever were.
While admiring a few blades of grass beginning to grow through the mud I was delighted to see an analogous miracle in my life. Years ago the flood waters of trauma washed through my life leaving my joy buried beneath the mud of PTSD. After many years of diligent work in counseling and meditation the symptoms of PTSD had lessened to such an extent that being alive was all right, but still something had been lost that was difficult to articulate.
While having dinner with a new friend some months ago she told me about a co-worker who was hospitalized following a bicycling accident. It was a simple enough story and yet my attention was caught by the tender care she felt for another whom she wasn’t very close too. I commented on this and her face brightened with the delight of being seen. We went on to speak of friends we had in common and the intensity of her tender appreciation for others ignited the same in my heart and I was filled with a joyful golden light. Finally I knew exactly what I had lost as it came rushing back into my life.
It is different now. In the days before PTSD my golden light of tender caring arose and passed away of its own accord. Now after years of mind training I can use my attention to stay with the beauty and joy, to strengthen my connection to it, and let it fill my life ever more profoundly. I’m certain that the hard road has taken me closer to a life of joy, beauty, and tenderness than the easy road could have. Even better is that along the way I’ve learned skills that help me be present for others when flood waters have raged through their lives and they struggle to find their special light again.