Rev. Leslie Takahashi writes the following:
“We gather as many drops, each winding our own path down life’s surfaces and ruts.
But here, we pool together as a single body, flowing together for a time.
Together we are a stream, at times even a river, for with our shared force we can travel toward oceans of meaning and seas of connection.”
“Oceans of meaning and seas of connection.”
This is what Survivors to Thrivers seeks to be for you. We can feel alone, like a drop of water, winding our way through life. And yet, there is a collective stream of spirits who can combine and travel together.
Below is a beautiful story of a woman who sat as a single drop of water until her individual stream was changed forever. After reading this passage, there are questions to help you find oceans of meaning for yourself. We hope you will share what you discover and contribute to our sea of connection.
Story from Life is a Verb, by Patti Digh
During a stay in India, Marion became sick with dysentery and captive in her hotel room for weeks. Finally, desperate to escape the room, she gingerly made her way to the hotel foyer one afternoon to sit and write a letter to her husband. Sitting near the end of a long, empty couch, she began to write.
Although there were other seats available, a very large brown woman came and squeezed between Marion and the end of the couch. So close that their arms were touching, so close, it made it difficult for Marion to write.
Marion scooted away, angry at the invasion of her space. The woman scooted closer, pushing up against her: “Every time I moved, she moved, until we ended up at the other end of the couch.”
Once she stopped moving away, Marion realized what a nice, big, warm arm the woman had. And so they sat, a thin bird of a sickly white woman and a big brown women, arm-to-arm. They shared no common language, so they sat in silence. Marion gave in to the broad warm arm, the presence of the other, and relaxed into her.
The next day she went again to the hotel foyer to write. And again, the woman came and silently sat next to her, touching her. And the third day. And the fourth day, and Marion’s health improved.
This couch dance continued for a week. One day a man appeared as the two women finished their silent, warm-armed vigil.
“You’re all right now. My wife won’t come back tomorrow,” he said to Marion, nodding toward her couch compatriot. Your wife? She thought to herself, startled. “Why is she here in the first place?” she asked.
Marion was unprepared for his quiet, simple answer. “I saw you were dying and sent her to sit with you. I knew the warmth of her body would bring you back to life,” he said.
It took a moment for the magnitude of his message and the enormity of what these two strangers had done for her to sink in.
How does this story speak to you around the need for community and resources?
As you re-read the story, identify the character with whom you most resonate.
Are you Marion, reluctant to let someone sit beside you and offer support? What do you need to receive? What support would be helpful to you?
Are you the man who recognizes the needs of another and provides a resource? Are you able to see clearly those around you? Whether they are loved ones or a stranger?
Are you the brown woman, willing to give of your time, no questions asked? Think of all the gifts you may have to give to someone hurting, or in your position, or just beginning their journey.
Earlier this month, we shared the possibility of creating an online community to support survivors who want to take the next steps to THRIVE. Having just completed this exercise, you may have identified a desire for support. The online community could include a virtual small group study of Awakening the Light, guided readings to help you tap into your deeper self, sessions to explore breathing techniques, discussions around limiting beliefs, etc.
Please let us know if you have specific ideas on what would be meaningful to you and if you would be interested in being a part of an online community of thrivers! We would welcome the opportunity to come and “sit” beside you. Contact us
Here’s to Thriving!