Everyone in the family knows that our family is dysfunctional...that is...all who want to face the truth. There are some family members who are threatened by this topic. They refuse to know how sick our family dynamics were when I was a little girl. I honor them by not rubbing their noses in the mess. I keep my mouth shut.
My cousin and I provide therapy for each other by talking freely about how betrayed we were. We admit to each other how hurt we were by our immediate family. Mercifully, those family members are no longer here. They have escaped "the talk...the accusation". It would not have done any good anyways. I now understand why they acted that way, from the distance of age and I forgive them. This comment is only by way of opening up the topic of the list.
All my life, I have felt the unseen hand of spirit on my shoulder...guiding me to an experience necessary for my growth. When I have grown strong enough to solve that problem, the "unseen spirit" leads me away from there and on to a new situation. The flip side of this experience, is, if I can't solve the problem, it is presented to me again with different people and perhaps a different location. Thee is no running away from these life lessons. There are no failure at life lessons. The same situation keeps repeating until I master it no matter how uncomfortable it makes me.
Part of this miracle is the people who turn up at the right time. They are on "the list". One of the people on the list is world war two Sargent Johnson. I hope to devote an entire blog on this man. This current blog only touches on my relationship to him.
Bob was a prisoner of war for 18 months. He was in a Jewish death camp. He lived only because the war ended and the camp was liberated. If you have seen photographs of the living dead that were liberated from those camps, you have the idea of how close to dying Bob was. It was the horror of his life that gave him nightmares the rest of his life.
Bob came into my life when I was in need of serious help. I consider myself a practical and competent person able to handle just about any life situation. I was in one that I could not solve by myself. I found myself a widow living in a new state and city. I had no business contacts here. I had no family here. I was completely cut off from any help or support. I had a mortgage to pay off and no job. My permanent teaching certificate was not honored by Connecticut. Connecticut and New York had no reciprocal agreement to honor each other's teacher training certification program. I was emotionally exhausted from caring for my husband while He fought cancer. Then He died, leaving me utterly alone in the mess. In short I was stuck in the mire with no way to get out. Then Bob showed up.
We became good friends and talked a lot. Bob told me about his life growing up, his life in the military. I told Bob about my life and my strong belief in Quakerism. We seemed the odd couple: a military hero and a pacifist. I got on my high horse one day and stated that it was wrong to kill anyone. I am against war, capital punishment, murder on the streets....violence of any kind.
Bob gave me a mature look and stated from his experiences in Stalig 17: We think that there are things we would never do, but you are wrong. There are extreme circumstances that will make you do anything just to survive one more day. You will steal a loaf of bread if you have to. You will shoot the other man before He shoots you. If you are hungry enough, you will do anything you have to.......to survive one more day.
Bob taught me that all human beings are capable of all human emotions....from the most loftiest to the most base. Most humans function in the middle of this response scale. We deny our dark side capable of murder, theft, destruction of others, jealousy. We may deny it, but it is there. Good mental health suggests that when those awful feels of rage or jealousy surface, We should recognize them, give them a name and let them go. We do not have to act on those feelings. Just looking at our baser self and admitting that those feelings are there , frees us from them . They are released. If We do not name them and release them, they fester on our deep levels, influencing us to act in ways We would not choose. Old wounds are alive in you today if you have not looked at them and healed yourself. They are the steam in the pressure cooker of your soul.
I bless the military and the awful job they do to protect my freedom. I am free to be a pacifist because men and women like Johnson went to war and died. We speak English today, not Japanese or German because Bob Johnson and his buddies stood up to Germany and Japan. I am free because they guard my freedom.
Meeting Johnson was a life changing experience. I knew that He had been tested and past the test with flying colors. Johnson functioned on the highest spiritual plane. He represents the best of the human race. He was given a job where he could have died. He did not flinch. He is a true hero.
By comparison, I see people who act selfish. Foolish young people are preoccupied with the latest fashions and electronic gadgets. "Status" is important to them. I see that they are going through life with their eyes closed. I wonder if God tested them, how would they do? It is not my job to be their judge. I am only noting that they are functioning way below Sgt. Johnson.
I am mulling this over. Hmmmmm. Are there other people who are functioning at their highest level ? The answer is yes. Our town, my experiences are full of people I admire. You have met them, too. They take on responsibility and do it well. They are scholars at the local college. They are musicians . One is a doctor. Another is a teacher. Still another is in social services. I now actively look for these fully actualized people. They represent excellence. Many are unknown. I can see their excellence shining as they go through the day.
Some I know only through the books they've written. They influence me. I never met John Bradshaw, yet his teachings opened my eyes and set me on the path towards my own self actualization. Eric Erickson. Jared Diamond. M. Scott Peck. Richard Fineman. These authors are on the list.
The list of self-actualized people is a treasure . Those people are an honor to see how they function. I recognize them by my own feelings of admiration. It seems a privilege to talk to them. I know that when they stand before God, he will say, "well done." The list is growing.
If reincarnation turns out to be true, then I would make a request of the angel who is sending me back here again. Please place me with people on the list.
Labels: THE LIST