If Walt Disney (“Silly Symphony,” one of several animated short films produced during 1929-1939, staring the debut of Donald Duck) and Ronald Reagan (1976 political monologue) can spin new perspectives on the 1918 Old English Folk Tale, so can I. But first, the back story leading to integration.
Last Wednesday evening, I attended the introductory meeting of the Northfield Medical Aid in Dying Interest Group. I wanted to learn more about the status of The End-of-Life Option Act of 2017. Two prior introductions of the bill had previously been presented. Most recently Bill [145.871] HF1885, “adopting compassionate care for terminally ill patients; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 145” circulated in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
At the same meeting, I became aware of the New York Times article, “At His Own Wake, Celebrating Life and the Gift of Death” by Catherine Porter. In this highly compelling story, Canadian John Shields offers personal reflections of one man’s decision to end his life with the blessings of his family and friends. Suffering from a hereditary form of amyloidosis which, among other symptoms, caused his heart to stop periodically, he subsequently became approved for assisted dying. Medically-assisted death for terminally ill people was passed in Canada on June 17, 2016.
In providing much external information that stimulated my internal brain, the meeting also included an informal presentation by Sally Settle of Eagan. She shared a personal story of her mother’s death from leukemia, promising her mother in her final days to champion end-of-life choices. Since then, Sally has shared her mother’s end-of-life journey with newspapers, Facebook, and other numerous audiences. Her friends admire her for the work she is doing. They applaud her energy and cheer her on. They see externally. They feel internally, yet they do not move one pinky toe forward to further the possibility of additional end-of-life choices, regardless of their individual stand-alone issues. Thinking only of themselves, there is no integration, no unity.
This frustrating quandary reminded me of the basis of the children’s short story, “The Little Red Hen,” retold and illustrated by Florence White Williams, The Saalfield Publishing Company: Chicago-Akron, Ohio-New York. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18735/18735-h/18735-h.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Red_Hen).
In it, the little hen, who was busy scratching the ground for worms to care for her entourage of baby chicks, found something that looked very similar to a worm. After inquiring throughout the barnyard as to its identity, she learned that it was wheat seed. In spite of her endless responsibilities as a mother, Little Red Hen managed to see great possibility in the wheat seed and importance to the whole of the barnyard society. Offering choices beyond worms and greens, she decided that working with the wheat seed should be explored. Needing assistance for the momentous task, she asked her dear friends to help her plant the seed, care for it, harvest it, grind it into flour, and make it into bread. To her amazement, not one of her friends (represented by the cat, the rat, and the pig) agreed; each, in turn, replied, “not I.” They were willing to watch from the sidelines, live their lives as they had become accustomed, and not be associated with anything that differed from the status quo. They were unwilling to consider or act. Realizing the seed’s marvelous potential to change barnyard life and the personal value of having choices, the visionary Little Red Hen said, “Well, then, I will do these things myself.”
I’m choosing to stop the story here. While most people recognize perseverance, hard work, worthy causes, and the quality of daring to step into the unknown or unproven possibilities, they balk at action, caring more about what people will think than about staying true to their higher Self. They let busyness make excuses. Is this integration?
The cat, the rat, and the pig were happy to watch Little Red Hen from a distance, in the present moment. Only the protagonist saw possibilities for the wheat seed and was willing to venture into the unknown with no guarantees. Her actions demonstrated a trusting alignment with Source and the courage to meet whatever life brought to the moment. This is integration.
Knowing of choices beyond the standard diet of worms (even if they were fat and juicy) and greens did not occur to cat, rat, or pig. They were complacent and in denial. Little Red Hen, however, was willing to explore something new and different. Options may not be used by the entire barnyard society, yet, with choices, every animal (everyone) is free—free to make decisions within personal circumstances. This is why we have free will. This is integration.
From a higher vantage: Choices should not divide us. Instead, let them unite us in free will and the joy and satisfaction of being able to accommodate our personal circumstances.
©2015 Barbara L. Krause