Jonah and his whale: Part III

4 mins read

By Danette Vernon
Once upon a time in the far-flung past, my vocation was teaching teens pre-employment skills: how to shake hands and look people in the eye (all at the same time), how to fill out a resume, etc. Three of the young men in the class tended to nip out as early as possible in order to hang out, or maybe smoke a little pot.
Five years later, I walk into a cell phone establishment, and a welcoming voice sounds across the room. It is one of the three young men. He hugs me and firmly points out that the job he has now — and his wonderful family — are all due to those few awkward classes.
Last week I had someone tell me that the time we had spent together at Therapeutic Solutions had caused them to “rewrite” their life story. They had taken a pronounced memory — which had for decades ploughed through them, year after year, with anger and hurt — and rewritten its story. What had seemed a wound was now viewed as life’s inspiration, as it was always meant to be.
Wounds, we all have one, or some.
We may feel that things didn’t work out as planned, or that our lives themselves didn’t work out; we did something, or someone did something to us, we tell ourselves. But how did the two people noted above happen to arrive at the magic of a rewritten past, or conversely grow the ability to “write in” a new future?
I can’t speak for them, but I would hazard a guess that they were finally open to the realization, remarked upon by philosopher Wayne Dyer, “that the not working out, is a part of things working out.” He meant that we don’t have to wait, as Mitch Albom purports, to meet our “five people in heaven” who are lingering there to tell us the meaning of our life, because we can find it for ourselves. We have only to look back over our lives, and truly see what we see.
For me, my mother was mentally ill, and my father left early on. Wipe away only those two things from my childhood and the gain of being able to feel comfortable with people who are struggling may no longer exist within me. In addition, my ability to find the good in those whom others have long since lost hope in, may be gone. Wipe away my childhood, and much good goes with it.
You plan your life, and then something else happens. To wit, Jonah in the Bible had promised a city a bit of “hellfire from heaven” if they didn’t change, and then something else happened, and that is how life goes; the “something else” is the blessing, not the curse. If only you can see it that way.

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