Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Most Beautiful Compensation

In response to my posting "No Man is an Island" C.O.D.R.A. Member Wendy Frost sends this stirring personal account:

"I didn't know Raymond Diaz, but I am sorry for his loss. Your words on Tuesday really touched me and I thank you for them.

As a nurse, I am cautioned against getting close to patients for the very same reasons. I'm aware of transference and counter-transference. I've been scolded by a friend who is a therapist and who volunteers with the Red Cross. Warned that I am taking the situation in Pearlington too personally. Informed that I need to let it and them go - that I've done enough.

But as you said, if not me who? Who will care? Who will keep the forgotten people from being forgotten again? I have formed deep and lasting friendships with many in the community and I refuse to sever those ties.

It isn't enough when so many in our great country are still homeless. It isn't enough when our very own people do not have the means to take care of their dead, or the hope to carry on alone. How can this happen in America? It happens because we have allowed it to happen. We are encouraged to protect ourselves to the point of apathy, then have the gall to say "isn't that awful, someone should do something!"

So like you, I will go on caring too much. I will continue to be hurt, frustrated and sad. I won't stop until the homeless and hopeless have hope again. I'll go on caring too much until those who don't care at all become involved. I'm not bold enough or conceited enough to allow myself to believe that I can save the world, let alone Pearlington, but I can make a difference. I truly believe that one person, any person who is blessed with just a little faith, can make a difference.

Yes caring hurts, but it also heals. When you see hope and tears of joy shine in eyes that were dull and listless, and shoulders and a spine that were rounded with grief and despair stand straight and tall with the pride of being a homeowner, the pain associated with caring too much goes away. In it's place is a sense of well-being and accomplishment and a sense of knowing that this is what it truly means to be a healer.

Again, thank you for your wonderful words. You have no idea just how much I needed to hear them."

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life,
that no man can sincerely try to help another
without helping himself"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you, Wendy. Well felt. Well written.


At Thursday, 18 January, 2007, Anonymous jeanne said...

Wendy, I share thoughts, your strengths and your weaknesses as I, too, had the same words said to me. "Let it go, Jeanne, you can't save every child and every family and you'll lose yourself in the process." And like you, I couldn't let go either. Though our school doesn't exist in terms of brick and mortar any longer, it lives and grows in the hearts and minds of the children I teach. Just today we began the bittersweet process of choosing a new name, a new mascot, for a "new" joining children from two communities who now must become one. Ron Leach, a dear friend from the Carbondale,Colorado fire department who spent countless hours toiling in Pearlington, told me long ago that I reminded him of a story that I'll share with you:

"While walking the beach, a man saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the sea.

As he came closer, he saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown onto the beach. Unable to return to the ocean during low tide, the starfish were dying. He observed a young boy picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

After watching the seemingly futile effort, the observer said, "There must be thousands of starfish on this beach. It would be impossible for you to save all of them. There are simply too many. You can't possibly make a difference."

The young boy smiled as he picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one," he replied"

No, Wendy, you can't save everyone. But thank God that there are Wendys who continue to walk the beaches of life, throwing by into the water those Katrina washed ashore , one "starfish" at a time!
God bless you and all those who have given so much to those who have so little.

At Friday, 19 January, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Wendy. Very well said. I could not have said it better.

At Friday, 19 January, 2007, Blogger Wendy Frost said...

Hi Jeanne, thank you for your kind words. It is funny that you should tell that story - The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley is the theme of my website!
The similarity of the beach strewn with starfish and the lives, homes and hope scattered by Katrina is amazing.
You recognized it because you - like myself and the other members are a StarThrower.
God Bless you


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