Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Talking Life Raft Epiphany

A talking life raft is as good an epiphany as you'll ever get, especially if you've been pondering one of the deepest mysteries of the universe for several weeks: How to save a life.  

The best thing about a talking life raft is that you can't get a word in edgewise (especially if it's talking in permanent marker).

It ain't easy to argue with a life raft that won't shut up.  My daughter's life raft has a motor mouth. I don't know how she sleeps at night with that thing yakety yak yaking in her ear: 

You are so awesome! Everybody loves you! Love you chokes!! Everybody wishes you were here! We miss you sooooo much! Miss you like crazy!!  

Her dear friends have thrown her a life raft that can't keep it's mouth shut.  

Thank you dear friends! 

And thank you for throwing me an epiphany at the same time. It's was an answer to a question that's been gnawing at the top of my brain for some time now.  

It all started several weeks ago when I accidentally saw the prophet at a funeral.  He stood up to speak and suddenly all the edges blurred and he came sharply into focus. "It's better to save a life than to raise the dead," he said. 

Or maybe he said, "It's easier to save a life than to raise the dead."   

Either way, it was one of those things that makes you go hmmmmm . . . not unlike the sensation I get whenever I listen to The Fray telling me they would have stayed up with me all night had they known how to save a life.  

Does saving a life require staying up all night?  

Peter, James and John didn't stay up all night when Jesus died.  He was bleeding from every pore, and they were dozing off.  

But even if they HAD stayed up all night with him, that wouldn't have saved his life, right? He HAD to die.  That was the plan.

Still, wouldn't the story have been so much better if Jesus hadn't had to ask them over and over if they could please keep their eyeballs open for a spell while he suffered the sins of the entire world. Sure it was his choice to experience excruciating pain. That was the requirement. The sacrifice. Yet I love to think of his disciples at least TRYING to save him while he was saving the rest of us--at least washed the blood from his face with a cool cloth, given him a sip of water, lent him words of gratitude and reassurance that what he was doing was what had to be done.  

When I wrote Letting Daddy Die I asked my hub to read it.  He didn't like it.  He said the ending made him uncomfortable. I told him the ending was supposed to make him uncomfortable.  It was an uncomfortable ending to an uncomfortable story.  He said, "but it's not true.  It's not your fault that your dad died. You were only fourteen. You didn't do anything."

"That's exactly right," I said. "I didn't do anything."

"You couldn't have saved him!" he protested. 

"But I didn't even try!" I said, and then the room must have gotten really hot because my eyeballs started sweating profusely.

Intellectually I know it wasn't my fault. My dad chose to opt out when I was too young to understand the complexities of life. 

But my stone-cold heart doesn't quite buy it.  My stone-cold heart knows I didn't even try.

I never said what I needed to say.  Mostly because John Mayer was just a toddler at the time, but also because I just didn't feel like it.

I wish I had taken the time to throw my dad a life raft back then.  At least he would have had something to hold onto for a little while before he slipped away.  

Maybe it's not too late.  Maybe I can send him some belated air hugs and kisses and a belated air life raft. 

Maybe I can make it talk with a permanent air marker . . . and then pray to Gad he hears me.

Everybody loves you. Love you chokes!! Everybody wishes you were here. We miss you sooooo much!  Miss you like crazy . . .

Oh, and P.S. FTR, BTW, we forgive you like crazy too!  


CaJoh said...

You have this amazing ability to place complex things into a simple, yet eloquent package. You even have the forethought to change your song to match.

Sometimes even just existing is something. Do not think that you didn't try. You may not have even known there was something— and even if you did, you may not have ever known what to do.

Hopefully my little frio-vest that I toss you will help put your head above water enough to learn from this challenge.

The World As I See It said...

You write beautifully and I totally understand what you saying and get what you are feeling.

Sandi said...


wesley's mom (sue) said...

How come it seems like you are being silly, but my eyeballs are sweating?

How do you do that?

Heidi Ashworth said...

Love you chokes? I have never heard that before. I'm guessing it's a good thing . . I loved reading your story. It's a gem.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

Thanks. This is my new favorite. And for what it's worth, I really believe that our dads hear us when we tell 'em stuff. And they hear, and they understand.

Keli'i and Megan said...

Love this.

Stephen said...

That was an exquisite example of your writing ability. You took us on an emotional roller coaster. I wish I could have made his death less lonely at the very least. I could have held his hand and assured him his suffering would soon be over.

April said...

WOW, is right.

Tiffany said...

you have a way of making my eyes sweat!

val of the south said...

I triple that WOW.

Dolly said...

I need an epiphany. I think mine needs to be written on an air craft carrier so I will really get the message.

I love the imagery of one of Jesus friends wiping the blood sweat off his brow over and over with a cold bucket of water and the end of his own robe. Such attentiveness is sorely missing....