By Nedra Chandler
My friend Liz pointed out the irony that my last post was about the ‘life bombs’ showing up in the immediate lives of our close friends. I have no where, and no good reason, to hide this life bomb news of mine:
My husband Scott Graber died two months ago on the morning of December 17, when a speeding train came up from behind him at a dangerous angle and crashed into him on the driver’s side. No lights, no stop sign to blast through our ‘automated’ human habits of attention and non-attention.
The blunt force of the impact moved his entire heart over in his chest and threw him out onto the field beside the tracks, not far from his family’s little farm where he had spent the weekend fixing a roof and fishing the Bighorn River.
Scott’s life spoke
Later, when I walked into the room and saw his body, I had this simple yet profoundly-felt awareness: “Scott’s life spoke.”Those words came directly into my thoughts. It was like his 50 years of life were concentrated into that one truth I was witnessing.
And then, immediately I thought: “my life is speaking too — here I am still alive in this body, on this planet.”
Today I know this: our lives speak whether we are paying attention to that or not.
Live the questions now
“Live the questions now” is an often-quoted line from Ranier Maria Rilke. I just love that.
You are no doubt already ‘living your questions’ in your own way. I want to tell you how specifically grateful I am for one of the 11 questions I answered nearly every night of the week in 2018: “did I love Scott up and love him up specifically and on purpose today?” That question was pure gold for so many reasons.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”
Live the questions now. The quality of the questions we ask ourselves and ask each other shape our lives, shape everything about what’s real and the conditions we create for ourselves and this planet.
After Thanksgiving I wrote in my post“we’re all a bunch of critters” with very little control over most things. I described the rhythm of moving “back and forth between dread and joy, fear and courage, life and death, or deaths of innocence, marriages, and other smaller deaths before each of our individual last breath in the body. Joy, joy, dread, dread joy. Dread, dread, joy, joy, joy.”
I don’t appreciate what happened to Scott. I wanted to tell you about it because the heart of coaching practice is that we are devoted partners in each other’s development. And that can only happen through trust and relationship. And trust only happens through honesty and letting ourselves be seen and both support and be supported by each other.
Like you, like me, Scott had energy in him that ‘spoke’ every time he showed up in any and every setting in life whether words happened to be coming out of his mouth or not at any particular moment. There was his life, speaking. He composed his life through his presence and choices he made. He invested his love, time, energy, and money in particular ways. We all have our particular ways of being. A lot of it is default habit.
A nudge of encouragement
Here is your gentle, low-key nudge to fulfill on your own commitments to yourself, your people, places, your sphere of influence — to know the main questions you are living into most days and choose what your life is saying deliberately and often.
A bit about me: I work with business and government clients and their partners as a professional coach and third-party facilitator in navigating conflict, change and learning opportunities of all kinds. Thank you for the gift of your valuable attention. I appreciate you and I enjoy hearing back from readers. Find me here once a month, find my colleagues at Elation here, and my longtime colleagues at Triangle here.