We All Need One – Friends and Flashlights

George Simmons, Ginger Vieira, Scott Johnson
George, Ginger, Scott

I was going to use “We All Need A Ginger” for my title, but I wasn’t sure how that would come across…

In my case, I’m talking about Ginger Vieira, and there’s no substitute for her. But if you can’t get yourself a Ginger (Vieira!), then a good friend will do just fine. Either way, you need somebody, and I’ll explain why.

Late in 2011 I started looking for a church to attend. Earlier in the year, a good friend, and pastor, lit the fire for Christ in my life. Just months later he was tragically taken by lung cancer. It happened so fast. As I continued the journey he started me on, I knew that one of the next steps was to find a church to belong to. It doesn’t bother me to say that his church didn’t do it for me.

So I spent a few months visiting a number of local churches trying to find a good fit. During one of the visits I listened to a message that made me think of Ginger. This message made me think about how much I appreciate her, value her skills, and treasure her friendship.

This message was all about cleaning out the garage, and like many church messages it was heavy in metaphor. This pastor was talking about doing spring cleaning in the garage. His regular ways would have him grab the giant push-broom and do a few circuits of the floor, getting the big dirt out of the main areas. He’d do these big sweeps and call it clean.

He ignored the crevices and corners of his garage because they were the scary parts. Dark and dim, potentially full of big, scary spiders and insects, and who knows what else. If he ignored these areas he wouldn’t have to face the scary things that have been swept aside and ignored.

But his wife’s tools of choice were a small broom, a dustpan, and a flashlight. She would inspect the dark and scary corners, which, when illuminated and examined, really weren’t that scary after all.

This got me thinking about working with Ginger (after I was done thinking about Jesus 🙂 ). For many areas in my diabetes life we were digging into some scary things. And just as I was ready to turn away and ignore the mess, Ginger would hand me a big spotlight and put her hand on my shoulder. She let me know I wasn’t alone in examining that corner of my garage.

Many of the messes are still there, as it’s taken a lifetime of sweeping things aside to make them what they are today. But Ginger has helped me chip away at some of the fear involved in self-inspection, which has gotten me started on cleaning the mess rather than adding to it.

For that I am forever grateful.

A friend and a flashlight is sometimes all it takes to push through a fear that is holding you back.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, and advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer.

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…