Saturday, December 31, 2011
It's about a peace worthy of and consistent with, our own immensity, the beauty we are surrounded by, and the one who dreamed us up. And it goes way beyond a promise about where we will spend the time that extends out beyond this life after we die. The most immediate part of it is.....How will we spend the time that we have here?
Late last night the word came in that the results of the test confirmed that I was not facing, at least at this time, a dance with cancer. I was alone so there is no one to confirm to you that there was no sigh of relief but instead just the hint of a smile and then a closing of my eyes to once again enter the world of sleep. This possibility of cancer arrived back towards the end of summer after I had undergone a standard physical. I am glad to be able to say that from that moment on there has not been a moment of worry. I came to understand several years ago that worry is a wastage of this amazing life we have been entrusted with. And it's not true that worry doesn't have the power to change anything. Worry has the power to change a lot. It changes our experience in the here and now, and not in a good way.
But I have also come to know that telling others to not worry is a wastage also. Not worrying is not an act of will. It's the fruit of trust. It's the ability to accept what is and to respond in a way that's worthy and consistent with the simple profound beauty it is of having been given this immense privilege of living this one short and unrepeatable human life.
All I can say is that a number of years ago fear began to be displaced from my life as a traveling companion. Does that mean I now live with zero encounters with fear? No it doesn't. I have this suspicion that as long as we live in these fragile human earth suits, fear might just pop up now and again. But I have also, first hand come to know, that if we have the courage to face our fears, even (especially) the worst of them, and if we can recapture the imagination to believe that it is possible to live a life that is defined by peace (real tangible unshakable peace) and not fear, it can radically change this human experience.
I've also come to know that the spirit works in ways that even goes beyond mysterious. (And I'm not talking about the healing of the body in this instance...I'm talking about the changing of how we experience pain, and difficulty, and change, and challenge, and ignorance, and darkness and ugliness and negativity and the like) I think it could be said that we who have been raised in Christian circles have even had the idea of God's mysterious ways malformed in us to where it has left us living in a way that keeps us working against the Spirit and actually rejecting the Spirit. I hear people say "the Spirit works in mysterious ways" all the time by rote, and then they go on living like they really don't believe it. The Spirit is committed to us and intent on setting us free....free even of the fear of death that is jerking people around in ways they aren't even aware of. And mysterious doesn't mean abracadabra kind of stuff. It usually means a slow steady unrelenting gentle working that is often going on without us even noticing it. But if our imaginations remain stumbling around in the shallows, unable to imagine that a life lived free of fear is even possible (even when we don't get delivered from the tough stuff)....we might just miss it.
I would love to live like a river flows
Carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
~~~ John O Donohue