Here in Boulder, CO, it’s been very sunny and warm for early February, but it’s also been very windy. We still have cold nights, and I heat my home with a cozy wood stove. Every 6 to 8 weeks, I have to climb a ladder to my roof, and bang the soot out of the chimney cap’s spark arrester to ensure that the air flow to my fire is well maintained.
Yesterday, I was up on my roof, banging the soot away, and I suddenly heard a crash. I knew immediately that my ladder had blown over in the wind. Sure enough, as I walked over to where I had climbed up, the ladder had fallen from my deck and was laying down on the steps. I was now stranded on my roof. My boys were not home to help me.
I was not expecting all of the revelations that came to me due to this one moment. At first, my heart sank, wondering how I was going to get down. I knew I could attempt to slide feet first and belly down off of the edge of the roof toward my deck, which wasn’t really all that far down to the ground. Then I thought better of it given that nobody was home, should I break my neck in doing so!
Then I looked around, first to my immediate next door neighbor’s house, but didn’t see anyone. Then, realizing that from the roof, I had quite a good distance of view, I extended my outlook and noticed some neighbors about three houses away standing out in their driveway. After looking at them for a moment, not knowing them at all, and feeling very hesitant as a result, I started waving my arms and called out for help.
A young man in his twenties came running over, and immediately offered assistance, picking up the ladder and even holding it in place as I climbed down. I introduced myself and thanked him for his kindness, while we both shook hands and looked each other in the eye.
As I took the ladder back to the side of my house where it is stored, tears came to my eyes quite unexpectedly. I sat with what I was experiencing in that moment, and some very interesting insights came to me, not only about myself, but about our modern way of life.
I immediately felt a longing that came in those tears. The longing had to do with connection. I am so blessed to have a most amazing community of friends that I interact with regularly. Yet I realized in my moment on the roof that I don’t really know my own neighbors. Everyone tends to keep to themselves, myself included, without really connecting.
In that moment of me determining that I needed some help, and that young man deciding to assist me, connection was made. I was saddened as I realized my hesitation to even ask for help, fearing looking foolish, or imposing on someone I didn’t even know. Yet the circumstances required that I reach out, and thankfully, someone willingly responded.
Then I thought of that response. In reality, he could have just shaken his head at the “crazy lady waving from the roof” and laughed while walking back into his house. But he immediately came to my aid without hesitation. I almost felt ashamed as I began to notice how much I’ve managed to “buy in” to the idea that we are all so separate. This sense of separateness has permeated our cultural and societal norms.
We hear many stories of disasters and crisis bringing people together. We had our own larger experience of that a couple of years ago here in Boulder with our massive flood. Yet as quickly as the community connection came, it also seemed to go away as everyone went back to their “normal” lives. Of course there are those who are still recovering from the trauma, but overall, on the surface, life seems to be “back to normal” for most.
My family was blessed not to have been directly affected by that flood, but each day as I brought my boys to school, we saw an older woman working so hard to clean up debris from the flood on her property. The boys and I decided to bring her some soup as a meal one afternoon. We didn’t know her, and she was so very pleased to receive and meet us. We chatted for a bit, and even in her own devastation, she offered us some tomatoes from her garden as a thank you. I remember thinking how sad it was that she felt she had to “return the favor” for a simple gesture of community support. I know she was sincerely gracious, and I could also feel an energy in her that was hesitant to freely receive a gift from a stranger. I remember leaving her home that afternoon feeling the same kind of longing and tears that came after my neighbor helped me down from my roof.
Have we lost faith in humanity? Have we lost faith in our neighbors? What are we putting our faith in instead of our fellow brothers and sisters?
I’m noticing that faith requires courage. Faith requires a certain “blind belief” in what we don’t know by typical means of knowledge. As I speak of in the Courage Module of my online course, A Path to Personal Fulfillment, courage is needed for anything we meet that is unknown, unfamiliar or uncomfortable. We have to move beyond what we know in the material, horizontal world, and connect with a deeper belief in the invisible vertical world. The horizontal world by itself would have us all believe we are indeed separate, as we are separated by competition, media, economic status, war, dogma, etc. Yet when we tap into the realm of the invisible, the vertical world shows us that there is a deep connection. It was the invisible heart space of connection that brought me to feel faith in my brotherly neighbor.
This entire experience also brought me to see the beauty of living in the point of intersection of the vertical and horizontal worlds simultaneously. As I remember that we all originate from one source beyond material explanation or understanding, I remember my connection to my brother. As I remember the common struggle we all face in life on this material plane, I also remember my connection to my brother. Imagine what is possible as we all remember to have faith in ourselves, each other, and the source of amazing, ineffable, invisible power within each one of us that can move mountains! Let us believe with our thoughts, our feelings and our actions!
Here is a link to a favorite song of mine, which always reminds me to have faith…in you, in me, and in the world. May we all have the courage to keep the faith!