The strength we require

I was driving home from my writer’s group meeting just before dark last night. When I started down the private drive that runs in front of our house, I noticed a quick movement in the neighbor’s grass to my right. Two fawns were lying, curled up, in the grass near the drive and a buck stood above them. I immediately slowed the car to a crawl and crept to the far side of the drive so as not to threaten them. I made my way into the driveway that leads to our house at a snail’s pace while keeping my eyes on the buck and the  fawns, who had stood up. The three did not leave their spots. Even as I got into the house and peered out the window as the night darkened, I could still see them standing there. Then the other neighbor on our drive drove down a few minutes behind me and the deer fled into the woods.

It seemed like such a sad scene to me. The buck trying to bed the fawns down for a rest, and the three of them being threatened and running away. Where is the doe?

If there is anything I am learning from watching nature, as I have been privileged to do while living here in our house bordered by woods, it’s this: Ultimately we have to fend for ourselves. Others may try to help us, and give us a lending hand. But in this great design of life on this planet, mostly we are on our own. And conversely, although we may desire to, or even attempt to, help others, largely there is little we can do. Like us, mostly they are on their own with their trials, tribulations, pain, and suffering.

I would love to reunite the doe with her fawns, and maybe one day soon I’ll see them together again . . . or maybe she’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere. In any case there is absolutely nothing I can do.

You loyal readers know that I often struggle with my dad’s situation as he gradually loses his abilities to do almost everything because of his Alzheimer’s. I visit. I try to cheer him up. I try to give him something “fun” or interesting to do. But ultimately the hell he is living is his own battle to fight and endure. I can’t do it for him. I can’t even help him carry the load for any significant amount of time.

Like the people in the stories we see on the news who lost their homes to wildfires or tsunamis, who’ve lost their kids to abductors, who’ve lost their children or spouses or other friends and loved ones to an irrational act of violence in a movie theater, there’s very little I can do.

I can send money, prayers, good wishes. I can ladle soup in soup kitchens. I can do a little here and there. But I can’t take away someone else’s suffering. At best, I can only apply band-aids.

When it comes down to it, we are all on our own.

The strength we require ultimately has to be found within.

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19 thoughts on “The strength we require”

  1. such an insightful post. Since Deer seems to be appearing to you regularly, I thought you might like to know this, from the Medicine Cards;
    Deer teaches us to use the power of gentleness to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings who are trying to keep us from Sacred Mountain. Like the dappling of Fawn’s coat, both the light and the dark may be loved to create gentleness and safety for those who are seeking peace.

    If Deer has gently nudged its way into your life today, you are being asked to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds. Stop pushing so hard to get others to change, and love them as they are. Apply gentleness to your present situation and become like the summer breeze: warm and caring. This is your tool for solving the present dilemma you are facing. If you use it, you will connect with Sacred Mountain, your centering place of serenity, and Great Spirit will guide you.

    walk in beauty, my friend.

    1. Thanks for all the information about the deer and other animals you’ve sent me. I’m not sure I fully understand all of it, but I sure do like the idea of “finding the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

      Actually there is a lot in there that applies to my situation, in particular with my mother, and maybe other people too.

      Thank you.

    1. You understand. Maybe it’s because of your experience with losing your brother the way you did, and knowing that you could be there, care, and comfort, but ultimately, he had to walk the road he was on. I was inspired by my dad when I wrote it, as I explained to Kathy below. It’s intuitive and something we all know, but it was a bright kernel of knowledge moment for me.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I started thinking about this when I was visiting my dad last week. I do what I can for them in terms of helping out with this or that, but I can’t touch my dad’s suffering further than to let him know I see it, I know it, and I care about it, I’m proud of him, and I love him. Otherwise, he’s the one who has to get through the minutes of each and every day.

  2. I completely agree that in order to truly overcome, it must come from within the suffering person. But I can’t say enough that a $5 donation here or a ladle of soup there makes the difference between life and death sometimes. I work in a non-profit agency for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and I do not exaggerate about $5 saving a life…People don’t have to suffer alone even though the motivation and experience of true success or healing must come from within.
    I do believe you inspired me to write a blog for tomorrow…:)
    PS – Even if it’s “just” a Band-Aid, make it a Hello-Kitty or Sponge Bob Band-Aid! 😉

    1. I agree. I think knowing you are not alone and that others are willing to lend a hand or help in some way makes all the difference. I was concerned when I wrote that post that some people might interpret it another way, but you understand my point.

      I’m interested in reading your post today about the $5 donation. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the tremendous need out there. I do what I can.

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