Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016 - (Page 45)

THROWING MY LOOP What Makes Us Rise? BY MICHAEL JOHNSON i It was in me when I came. This desire to know what it is that helps in our time of need. On the farm where I was raised when an animal suffered, I suffered with them. The men said I was too soft. Now I know they suffered with me. The only difference was I showed mine. Later, I would wonder what it is that helps not only the animal heal but what helps us heal? Not from physical injury but rather the mental slings and arrows that make their way inside all of us from time to time. Those slights, those rejections, those times when we are swept aside and brushed away, when someone says 'you don't have it' - what helps us restore our faith and self-esteem in those times? I wondered. After a few false starts - think failures - my mind and that desire inside joined as one and I began to look for the answer in earnest. There was never a worse student than me early on - 13 Fs in row at the university. (Only record I ever set.) Then the transformation came brought on by caring souls at the university who extended their hands to me - me, the least of these - and showed me a better way. Each professor who helped me was different in their own way of course, but an old Jewish proverb explains how that can be... "Lamps are different but the light is the same." I kept looking for the answer. I looked in lecture halls. The teachers were from Columbia, Ohio State, Berkeley, Penn State, LSU and Tulane and Rice. I listened to their lectures, took notes and took tests...and I didn't find it. I looked in libraries and in the books inside. I looked in Freud and Jung, Sandor Ferenzci, Rollo May, Martin Heidegger, George Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Sartre and Camus...and I didn't find it. When they put that cowl around my neck on graduation night, I looked up to the sky. The fog was still there. That is why I never took the title of 'Dr.' too seriously. But to my credit I didn't give up on the quest. I kept looking and after years of searching, I found it. Not all of it, but enough to make my heart soar. It's like quicksilver, you know. You can get close to it - close enough to reach out and almost touch it. You can see it but only for a moment. Then it's gone. But I've seen it. I've seen it in men and women working with troubled horses. I've seen it in some teachers working with a certain child, and I've seen it in my wife. Like this... "Can I bother you for a moment?" said the young woman standing just outside the door. "Sure you can," said my wife. "That's what I'm for." The young woman came in. Attractive. Well dressed. She seated herself. Her hands were shaking. Tears spilled over her eyelids and down her face. She spoke... "I'm 33," she said. "My husband was beating me. I found the courage to leave. I took my two young children and came here a few days ago. I need to earn my daily bread. I have to graduate from this university and I'm afraid. What if I fail? What if I can't do it?" Silence. RURAL WATER 45

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016

Strategic Planning for Water Utilities
Planning for Drought
A Rally to Remember
The 17th Annual Great American Water Taste Test
USDA Rural Development Has Loans
Rural Water Association of Utah Launches Successful Training Program
Vermont Rural Water Association Continues Training; Plans More for 2016
From the President
Finance: Investing Without Borders
Emergency Management: Decontamination Strategy for the Water Sector
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider: Dell R. Harris, Kentucky Rural Water Association
Case Study: Bubble Diffusers
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From The CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016