Even forces of nature have a beginning and an end. Storms, earthquakes, brilliant sunrises, and glowing sunsets. The sights and sounds of an Aurora Borealis on a cold crisp night. All come and go but not before changing the lives of those who have the privilege of experiencing the force of nature. And so it is with our friend Dona. Another magic maker who could not help but to create in the paths of those she crossed reflections on what is important in life; laughter and memories that last forever.
“Somehow the world is darker without her,” said a friend when she told me the news recently. All I could think was that this is just how it is when a force of nature transitions to memory. What I know about death is that it impacts the living far more than the deceased. Please know that I am well aware these are the words of one who has no idea of what happens at the end but still, the words bring me comfort.
I am comforted by the idea that Dona’s pain in this existence is over. That all the lessons she had to teach have all been taught and now it is for those who learned from her to take what she taught and continue moving forward in our lives. I’ve heard it said that pain in life is inevitable; this is the first arrow. But it is for each one of us to direct the second arrow that is suffering. Invariably this second arrow arrives soon after the first. It is for us to decide for ourselves how we choose to respond. Lovely words indeed but hard to swallow. Regardless, it remains a fact that suffering sure was a lot more fun with Dona around. I suppose now it is up to those who knew her to decide how to respond to this most recent second arrow.
It was Dona who told me it was time for new bras. We were standing outside the bar talking about the various second arrows in our lives. I was not doing so well with a particular second arrow of mine and lamenting the fact that I was still single. “Biscuit,” she said, “you’ve got to show them your assets.” She then unbuttoned the top button of my shirt, reached into my bra, and made some needed adjustments.
Now I know you might leap to the conclusion that if we were standing outside a bar we might have had a few drinks behind us. And that would be an accurate conclusion. You might even leap a bit further and conclude this was why, without hesitation, she proceeded to show me the possibilities I walked around with everyday. Well, I am here to say that you would be wrong to think Dona did what she did because we were waiting for refills. Dona would have done this very thing if we had been having the same conversation while in a place of worship. That was just the kind of force Dona was. If it needed to be done, it got done. If it needed to be said, it got said. If it need to be taught, it got taught.
I do wonder about the passersby that may have seen the exchange and if I recall, there might have been one or two that evening. They would have seen two grown women talking in front of bar when suddenly one beautiful tall blonde reached down the shirt of a slightly shorter brunette who put up absolutely no resistance. Standing still, hands at her side, the brunette intently watching what the blond was doing all while the conversation continued. I imagine their shock and can hear them thinking, “What in the hell are those two women doing?” This only makes me smile all the more at the memory.
“You see Biscuit, you’ve got far more than you think.” I looked down and saw that once again, she was right. In fact, there was a whole lot more than I thought. As you well know, forces of nature are not to be reckoned with. Within days, I went shopping for new bras. Today I contend with another second arrow in this life because I never saw Dona again. She never knew that with this lesson as with all the lessons she taught me, not only did I learn but I took them to heart and then, I changed.
What Dona did, said, and taught me is minuscule in the totality of her life and the impact she had on others. She dedicated her life to those who suffered. She was a master teacher of how to direct those second arrows that come at us in life. Poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse, homelessness, and the past histories that hold power over us long after their stories end. Teaching others how to take the power from second arrows and place that power within ourselves, where it belongs. I simply cannot imagine the suffering of Dona’s family and many friends who mourn the loss of this force of nature in their lives and must now contend with the arrows that are flying about.
We know for ourselves our own suffering. It is clear. But we can never make the mistake of thinking we understand the suffering of others. For this Biscuit, as comfortable as I was to have Dona reach down my shirt, I will never know the extent of her arrows and her struggles to redirect and regain her own power. Perhaps our biggest failure in this life is realizing that more often than we might believe, even master teachers struggle with what they teach so well.