uncluttered soul

finding peace in the midst of chaos

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like…

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” …Seneca


A few months ago I was soaring high above the clouds. 38,000 feet and 3,000 miles lay between me and the sadness that I tried to leave behind.

An upgrade to first class, and a charming flight attendant brought a smile to my face, but it wouldn’t last. Even countless glasses of coursing wine couldn’t chase away the pangs of sorrow that overwhelmed my broken heart.

I thought I had found what truly made me happy.


Paint brush in one hand, a sloshing bucket in the other, I inspected the 12′ wooden ladder. It appeared sturdy, though the 10′ mark was defaced by a reckless pattern of hammer marks where mismatched boards were joined together.

Like I said, it looked sturdy enough.

I’ve been wrong before.

Up I went.

The C came into view as I filled the space around it with fresh paint. Centro Misionero Jehova Jireh would soon proclaim its renewed welcome to anyone who would venture within reach of its always open door.

I’ve never had much of a problem with venturing.

My gracious hosts were busy below as I moved further to my right. A few trips up and down the dubious ladder to refill my paint bucket were simply part of the deal. I enjoyed the deal. I was in a place where people needed help, and I was able to give it.

Little did they know that I received far more from them than anything I could give.

It’s simple. I don’t deserve any awards, or even a pat on the back. I’m no star. Is anyone?

I was halfway through Jehova when it happened. After filling my bucket, once again I ascended the community ladder. Hands full and my heart in flames, Heaven was 12 feet above me.

Confident steps carried me closer, and I smiled. Nearing the h I pushed hard with my right leg to reach the pinnacle.

As the two sections of ladder separated I watched swollen drops of paint hover above me. It was too late to be concerned. I was going to hit the ground hard.

Have you ever felt your life to be completely out of your own control? Like the present moment has passed without consequence, and the future is, well, the future. I was ushered into a strangely timeless limbo, and it was calm.

Father Alfredo came running as I lay on the concrete. I was the loser in an unforgiving game of paintball. Surprisingly I was unbroken, and though there was significant pain, I accepted the calm that embraced me.

Work was done for the day, and Father walked with me back to my home.


It was easy going to Panama. Many told me I was a bit unhinged. Well, I’ve always enjoyed being like a banging door coming off the hinges. It makes things simpler, you know, less time to contemplate fear. I think many years of surfing in front of big rocks has a lot to do with my adventurous instability.

I must admit though that the arms of adventure hold me much more tightly than any perceived sense of well being, and as life would have it, after averting serious injury while painting in Panama, I was blessed with wonderful, loving moments in the arms of a beautiful woman.

I thought I had everything; love, adventure, opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than most of us in America.

One Valentine’s Day she and I had planned to have a quiet, romantic dinner at a nice restaurant in Panama City. Unfortunately, that morning I became ill, and later learned that the local water supply had become tainted, and yes I had been drinking the water. Panama’s water supply is said to be good, when it flows, but that day even restaurants in the area were using only bottled water.

Later in the day, as I lay miserably on the sofa, I apologized for making a mess of our dinner plans. She replied sweetly, “It’s OK. What better gift could I receive, than the chance to take care of my Valentine”.

I was close to tears as she gently wiped the fever from my forehead. I felt truly loved.

Today, it’s just a memory, and my heart is like a laden wilderness where flowing waters no longer mingle.

I struggle to understand what happened, and why. I’ll probably never know, and perhaps that’s the way it should be.

But if we dare not venture, things will always remain unexplained. Too many questions will eventually paint a pretty picture with no Soul.

Venture into the arms of the Universe in search of secrets. You will never be misled, or denied. Open your heart to sorrow, and you will also find joy.

No matter how hard we try to bottle up time, it unfailingly continues to move forward.

Love keeps calling. And though I’m still falling, I’ll be OK.

You will too.


December 13, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | Leave a comment


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