Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.
We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.
I learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.
If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.
So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.
Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.
This morning the pastor at our church said in her sermon…spoken to God….“Let me not confine you in the narrowness of my mind.” This is a very profound statement.
Whatever your belief, if you espouse any God, this tells us where most of us want to be. We want a God who is like us. We want to create God in our image instead of the other way around. We want a God who thinks like us. We want a manageable God.
If God is like us then God has the same bias, the same prejudice and the same belief system. Then it is easy for me to point fingers at others and scoff at their beliefs. It allows me to pick and choose what God thinks. Aren’t I amazing?
This God can occupy a nice closed box in my mind and I will only let out what I deem appropriate. However, God is tricky and sneaks out of the box in and plants ideas that I don’t want to consider. He/she is constantly challenging me and widening my mind, calling me on prejudices and making me rethink my ideas.
It is abundantly clear to me that however much I could live with God in a box that is not going to happen. And in reality it would not be something I want.
I see a God who is infinite and intimate. I see a God whose mind I cannot comprehend. I see a God whose thoughts are so far above mine that the universe can’t contain them. Maybe this is not at all comfortable but this, for me, is God.
What is thinking and how do we handle it? Being able to think is such a good thing but we can really get off track. Our thinking can make decisions about how we live each day. I want as many good days as possible, don’t you?
We get up each morning and without conscious thought may make a decision about how the day will go, This early morning idea can make or break our day. The thoughts may be a follow-through from the day before. It could be leftover feelings from a dream. Sometimes I wake up with a dream in my conscious mind and the related feelings foremost.
Knowing what is scheduled for the day may set the path even before we really have our eyes open. If we dread the day and let that be paramount we will start off with that underlying thought. I don’t think it will be our best day.
Feelings influence our thoughts and can take over from our rational mind and start us off on the wrong foot. When this happens I have to shake myself, like one of my dogs do, and push that feeling away.
If we want the day to go well it helps if we start off that way. If you can find something that gets you up to a good day use it. Someone I admire opens her eyes and says “God be on my right hand, God be on my left hand, God be in my heart and God be in my mind this day.” She says it brings her desire for the day into focus even before her foot hits the floor. Someone else has the things she is most thankful for taped to her bathroom mirror.
Whatever we can find to get those thoughts started off right will make a tremendous difference in our day. Make it a habit and plan for good days.
When I think about all that life has offered me I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Soon ( November 15th) I will have my 78th birthday. It is hard to believe. So much time has passed but it feels as if it were yesterday. My childhood with amazing parents and family. Even my mother’s long term illness which taught me so much about life blessed me and taught me endurance and persistence in the face of adversity. I think my anxiety was connected to her near death but life moved on as she chose to accept her restrictions and live.
College aided my growth as I struggled with IBSD and later an episode of Ulcerative Colitis. Graduation brought marriage to my amazing husband in 1962 and anxiety took a back seat for many years. Strangely enough the birth of 3 children brought me no stress but continued joy. They are all married with children of their own and one great grandchild.
It is easy to look back and see things that I would like to have done differently but those are the things we learn with age and experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that wisdom early on. The only thing that we can do is to share it with other generations and hope that some of it rubs off. When we are young we are so good at turning away from the wisdom of our elders. Our society doesn’t help as it is so youth focused. Too bad we are not part of the cultures that honor their elders and appreciate their wisdom.
I have had trials that tested my endurance and moments that have provided great joy. That seems to be the sum of life as we age. We can look back and contemplate the rough and the smooth and see the ways we withstood it all.
Long life is a true blessing and I am thankful for all of it….the good and the bad. It has made me who I am.
I have been thinking about what bits of wisdom I want to pass on. Can I say anything that will matter to you? Will you be willing to listen? Years of life do teach us things that we wish we had know earlier. These thoughts are simple ones.
Enjoy what you have and not what you don’t have.
It is so easy to focus on the things we want. They may not even be things we need but just things we think we should have. If we have a place to call home a bed to sleep in and enough to eat we have enough. Don’t struggle to keep up with other people. They don’ really matter. Instead be grateful every day for your life and health. If you have people in your life that you love and who love you ….you are blessed. Thank God every day for them. Show them that you appreciate them. Life is short and they may be gone before you can blink an eye.
Appreciate the moment
Every moment is precious. Even the ones that aren’t so good. Don’t just let them slip by but store them away in your memory. They won’t come again. Remember we only have NOW. Tomorrow is a day away and yesterday is gone.
Find the good in everything
Watch the movie Pollyanna and absorb her philosophy. We can find good even in the bad things. Some good can always be found. Don’t spend time bemoaning the negative. It just makes you miserable and who wants that. If you must express your sorrow, frustration or anger give yourself 24 hours for a “pity party”and then move on. You earned some time to fuss about your fate but after that get up and go on. Just being alive is a gift so appreciate it.
Don’t regret what you can’t fix.
If you did something that you are sorry for do what you can to fix it and then let it go. To hang on to guilt does nothing to help. Some things in life just can’t be fixed. Remember that. The only thing you will do is to frustrate yourself. Let it go.
Get a decent meal and a good night’s sleep.
Some food in your stomach and some sleep to rest your mind can change your attitude and your approach to things. Things tend to look different in the daylight. Worrying doesn’t help so have a good night and be ready to tackle the next day. Remember, all things pass….for good or ill. Perspective is everything.
We are always asking questions about life? The problem is there are so few answers. At least not ones that make any sense to us. We want to know what life is all about. We want to understand. We just get more questions.
Sometimes not knowing spirals into a feeling that we don’t really matter. We do matter. Believe it! Just because we can’t answer the question of why we are here? Just because we feel we have no purpose doesn’t mean we are not meaningful in this world.
There are people who think they have the answers. Sometimes those answers seem right and we grasp them only to see them slip away as we grow and learn.
We don’t need the answers. We have to understand that just letting the questions be is ok. Life is unpredictable and we may not have answers. Sometimes is is hard to live with this reality. We want to know…why am I sick? Why do I have mental illness? Why did the child die? It is hard for us that there aren’t answers. It would be so much easier.
Maybe someday we will know but for today we just need to live each day and know that we are important, we matter and we are meaningful.
Today has been a little hangover from the stress of IBSD yesterday. I am better but have not totally let go of the anxiety. It is incredible how it can get a hold on you and not want to let go. It truly takes positive action on my part to continue to push it away. Sometimes I think how silly it is to let anxiety take control when there truly is nothing to be anxious about. We surely can make our own distress. Unfortunately, it is not under my control. I keep working at it and it is better than it was in the past.
Life will always be up and down. That’s just the way it is. It’s how we handle it that counts. In spite of struggles we have to keep fighting! Giving up is not an option as none of us wants to live that way. Life is such a gift. We can’t miss it.