EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, and only sometimes, maybe we can use a little bit of help.
Perhaps we’ve lost a job that we really liked, perhaps we’re in the midst of a divorce, or perhaps the dog that we were hoping might live forever, maybe she’s just died. Those are difficult times.
In the midst of such times, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were one person in all the world, someone we loved and who knew just how to help us at that moment? One who had the perfect ideas and exactly the equipment we needed to put us back on our wheels again?
Here’s an example. Let’s say that all these bad things have happened to us and suddenly we’ve driven over the edge a life-crater, and the only thing we could think to do then is to sit on the bumper of our car (which fell to the bottom of the crater, on its side, in the mud) and cry.
We’re in the crater, crying, and about then do we hear this faint little sound, from a long way away (chug-chug-chug…). If only we could have called somebody, but when we tried to do that, our phone died, too.
(chug-chug-chug… louder now.)
With any luck, we were thinking, we could have brought a gun with us and ended our misery at last, but it turned out that we had left it at home this one time that we needed it.
Now the chugs are louder still and all of a sudden from above the rim of the crater we’re in, here’s the one person we hoped would come to save us, and she’s brought her industrial heavy-duty crane along with her.
She calls down to us, “Want some help?”
We would have kissed her, but twenty feet down in the crater, that wasn’t going to happen, so we just looked up at her through our tears.
Her crane is quiet now, not so much noise. Before we can imagine an answer, she shouts again, “Would you like a cookie?”
Before we could tell her that we need a lot more than a cookie, down comes a package from her. Bad-news good-news time. We missed the catch and it fell into the mud. But the package was not torn and with only a little effort we open it and in a minute we feel a little better than we did before. Our friend is gone for a minute and the next thing we see, looking up, is that her crane is peeking way over the edge of our crater and a heavy steel cable swings down toward us with a big hook at the end.
Is that strange or what? We prayed for help and here it is!
After our wheels rest on the highway again, she disconnects the big hook from our car.
“There’s some left,” we say, while we return the package to her, five cookies lighter. “How did you know…?”
“Happens all the time,” she says. “Some days you’ll think about a person you love and we your friends can tell. You can use some help, all right, and what we have along with us, it turns out to be just what you need.”
She hands the package back. “I have lots of emergency cookies in the cab. Keep these with you. They’re always nice to have with you while you recover from a crater.”
What an amazing story this is! And what’s even amazinger is that this story happens to everyone who needs help, anyone who has taken time to meet the ones who would be their helpers.
I learned how to meet them years ago. Chances are that you’ve met some friends then, too. From time to time we forget that they’re there, and we spend a minute sitting on the bumper and crying before we remember that we have helpers no matter how deep our crater may have been.
When I was 12, I met Horatio Hornblower of the British Royal Navy, 1795, through an introduction of C.S. Forester. Hornblower would sail into terrible events at sea, enemies and explosions all around him, yet he used his good sense, his powerful will and his fundamental sense of right, and a little bit of what seemed to be luck, to avoid being destroyed.
At that time there were just two books about Horatio. I loved those books! It took me a while before I discovered that I had become his friend, that I could call on the same qualities that he had used to keep me from being destroyed. I found that I had learned from him to avoid the enemies and explosions during terrible events in my own life. When I had to fight, I could call on him to teach me how to fight the instant before it it was necessary.
About the same time, I realized, that I had found a powerful friend and advisor in my mother, Ruth Helen Bach. She’s been dead for 50 years now, but I still hear her in my mind. “Take it easy, dear son, think your problems out, first. If you must fight, learn about the nature of your enemy, and discover, perhaps, that beneath their masks they may be your friends.”
Not aware of what I was doing, I began to build my own Board of Advisors. Of course I knew that I was the Chief Executive Officer, my decisions would determine what would happen in my life. But in time I learned how to convene my advisors before I made any major decision.
One day I added Antoine de Saint-Exupery to my Board. Saint-Ex believed in the importance of our mission on earth, important enough for him nearly to die in the sands of the desert, in the storms of the sky, and finally he died flying for the principles of the country he loved.
I found that my Board can be of any size I wish, and represents any idea that mirrors my own values. Today on my Board of Advisors are four living mortals, eight deceased mortals, 13 fictional mortals in various costumes, and two dogs.
You may suspect that one of the fiction souls may be Bethany Ferret, the captain of the Ferret Rescue Service Boat 101, the Resolute. You’d be right, of course. Such a gentle quiet unstoppable force to save lives, of course she’s there! In those five books of the Ferret Chronicles, I count eight of the characters who are now my Advisors. I could list them, but that’s what the books do, they tell why these characters are each teaching me how to reflect their own qualities.
Of course some of my spirit guides are there, and the two most loving dogs that ever have I met.
Look over my Advisors and there’s a painting of my own wish of the ideals I live for.
How do they work in practice?
When I’m desperately tired, when I want to stop instead of fighting on against fatigue, I call on one advisor, Bruce Lee. And strange things begin to happen. As soon as I call on Mr. Lee, he responds with a sudden burst of hidden energy, and it stays until my job is finished. Not just a belief of energy, but living real power, expessed in an instant number of finite physical foot-pounds required to complete the task.
That’s their gift. The Advisors open an electric rainbow of energy, physical, mental, creative energy, that brings me through the challenges of any day.
How can I talk about these silly ideas for my thoughtful and resonable readers? Isn’t the suggestion of an invisible Board of Advisors, isn’t this crazy stuff?
My friend (and Advisor) Donald Shimoda all of a sudden appeared to me as I was writing this, with an answer:
“Of course it’s crazy stuff! You write about crazy things because they work for you! And now you think it will work for anyone who calls on the power of beautiful ideas. Bless you for writing these words, dear Richard!”
What can I say? Except for his polite blessing part, he’s right.