The Secret Life of Gifts

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Last week’s Wellness Wednesday was a reflection on the gifts we each have and how they are sometimes not as obvious in their gifty-ness as being a PGA golfer or concert pianist would be. It resonated with Carol Pinney, a nurse and care liaison for Home Care & Hospice, reminding her of a night many years ago involving a blizzard, a bridge, a conversation with a stranger, and a rope. Her story, which I share in the attached PDF with her permission, showed her many months later the impact our gifts or even just our presence can have.
What makes this experience so jolting for Carol is how empty she was after a 72-hour shift Seattle Children’s Hospital. She had nothing left to give when she came upon that woman. “It wasn’t humanly possible for me to make a choice to care.” And yet that was not the experience the woman on the bridge had. I asked Carol if she was suggesting she’d been a conduit of some sort in the interaction they’d had.
“I’m suggesting only that we are all conduits though not all of us have been blessed with the chance to see just how much,” Carol emailed back. “I am grateful every day for this woman and for a few other similar events in my life that reminded me that my struggles to stay alive and accept some difficult things in my life have not been in vain but have, to the contrary, kept me here to have impact, if by choice or not, on the world around me.”
At this point I just came right out and asked if by conduit she meant God. Some version of God.
“For me my Quaker background allows God to be one thing but also recognizes his presence in many other forms. Whatever it is, in the end I’m pretty sure it’s always “goodness” trying to keep the upper hand or maybe just trying to maintain order of the cosmos,” returned Carol. “Physicists tell us that the world is constantly working towards disorder.  I wonder sometimes if these moments of grace that we give each other are moments of our universe providing energy to counteract the disorder -- moments of clarity.”
As I read Carol’s words over and over a Dylan Thomas poem keeps springing to mind on repeat…The force that through the green fuse drives the flower…
In the end, we just don’t know the seeds we sow or how they got there.
Have a good Wednesday out there. Stay safe. Let the goodness flow. And buckle up. As Carol says, “We are all on a wild ride but forget sometimes we are all sitting in the same car.”