…the practical and the ideal…

The miracle that was Jacques Lusseyran  is that he was completely blind, and still possessed a sensitivity to light.  His autobiography,  And There was Light, is a testament to the power of trusting your inner voice when life becomes its most desperate.

So why am I turning your attention to this man’s life?  What practical value is there?  Well, I guess the depends on how you define “practical.” 

I spoke to a 74-year old attorney from out-of-state; he was good friends with my father (who passed away 5 years ago).  This man was gracious enough to invite my mother and I out to dinner.  I described generally what I was doing as a coach, and he asked, “What is your value-add?”  Value-add refers to  the steps needed to carry out a task; each person adds value until the task is completed. 

So his question:  “What is your value-add?” was a very practical one.  He was asking me to “justify your work, justify the cost of your labor as value-added for someone else.” His question, well… it gave me a significant pause.

You see, the reason why is it practical to look at the life of Jacques Lusseyran – is exactly why coaching “holds value.”

Implicitly, we struggle to use our  life to express something of value.  And in that struggle there is one or even many leaps of faith; specific actions that take us beyond what we might have expected, or even dreamed of.  And the more we choose, willingly, “to fall backwards into the well of our original being,” the more something of grace and beauty – not to mention practicality – comes into our lives.

Jacques Lusseyran was all but fifteen when the Germans occupied France.   By seventeen (1941),  he organized the Resistance group known as the Defense of France.  In less urgent times, that might have been remarkable enough, but he had been completely blind since eight.  Yet, because he was blind, he was able to “see” what others could not and he was able to avoid the dangers of trusting the wrong people. Eventually, however he was betrayed, and he was sent to Buchenwald where he barely survived, while most of his comrades perished.  In his autobiography, he credits much of his good fortune to his deep trust in life; that sense of value that “literally” enables him to see.

Nothing entered my mind without being bathed in a certain amount of light.  To be more precise, everything from living creatures to ideas appeared to be carved out of the primordial light [in various colors of the rainbow]…I was not the master of these apparitions.  The number five was always black, the letter ‘L’ light green, and ‘kindly feeling’ a soft blue.  There was nothing I could do about it, and when I tried to change the color of a sign, the sign at once clouded over and then disappeared.  A strange power, imagination!

His imagination connected him to his values; he trusted that more than anything else – just so he could “see.”

Love, thought and life hold so much of this light you don’t even know what to do with it…joy does not come from outside, for whatever happens to us it is within…light does not come without.  Light is in us, even if we have no eyes.

The miracle that was Jacques Lusseyran is that he was completely blind, and still possessed a sensitivity to light.  What leap of faith does it take to fall backwards into your original being?


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