Sunday, January 16, 2011

So Many Thoughts

Yesterday, I spent half the day at a leadership conference at my church. It was time well spent, and I gained a lot of personal perspective as well.

Earlier in the week, I was approached by the pastor and another elder church member about a position that had become available in the church. It's a volunteer position, and I already am involved in many things there, so I felt the need to take some time to think about it so I would not spread myself too thin.

One thing I have noticed in the last year or so, is that as I slowly add these service activities to my life, it becomes fuller, and there is less time for drama and problems.

That said, this is a big commitment - the highest lay position in the church - and a 3-year commitment. I kept telling myself: I'm too young, I don't have my life all put together, What will I do about getting a paying job?

But all the while I kept hearing a voice saying, "You can do it." And I remembered the verse from the Bible that says God does not give you anything you cannot handle. After a long talk with the current member who performed this work, I decided to accept the position.

I have been involved in this church for 30 years, on and off, as it is the church my paternal grandparents attended. Most people know of me there - it's a small church - but few really know about my personal life, which I have mostly kept secret.

We got mid-way through the presentation and the speaker asked us what we wanted to be acknowledged for. She asked us to write it down, and I did. But it really wasn't something I wanted to share with half the church.

Of course, she called on me first! - And, made me repeat it twice so everyone could hear it.

"I want to be acknowledged for not using my personal life as an excuse not to participate in service work at church."

She acknowledged me and then to my amazement, about half the participants muttered that they have often used that excuse as well. How silly of me to think I was the only one with problems.

It was a very empowering moment for me.

The other thing that was an awakening was taking a leadership inventory and realizing what areas I am weak in. The 2 that came up that I commited to work on are:

1) Letting go of the past
2) Living courageously - doing things out of my comfort zone

Later in the evening, I checked my Facebook and saw a post that concerned me about a past classmate. As it turns out, she has been hospitalized for a brain tumor and given a limited life sentence.

It is not someone who I knew well or was close to, but for some reason, it hit me very, very hard, and I have been crying off and on since.

It may be that the hurt is still fresh from losing another friend this same way several years ago. In his case, I grieved because he left a wife and two young children. In her case, I grieve because I know she hasn't had this opportunity.

Whatever the case, an early death is always tragic to me and grieved especially hard. We don't know when our time is up.

It also has hit me because I have been feeling sorry for myself these last years (hence not giving back) thinking I had a sore lot with an alcoholic spouse and all that has traspired since. And I feel like, how dare I feel sorry for the life I have when there is someone else begging God for just a few extra days or months?

How can I not live my life to the best of my ability? How dare I not give all that I can? How can I hold onto grudges?

Louise Hay says, you don't have to know how to forgive, you just have to be willing to. I need to find the balance between letting go and not letting someone continually hurt me. I seem to swing too far in either direction.

This is a long post, I know, and ironically right after I thought I was done with this blog, I was flooded with so much - both in terms of things I have been thinking about and books I have been reading. This passage struck me very hard as well.

"God's love both dwells within us and extends out from us every moment of every day. When we are living in alignment with our true selves as God created us, we receive love constantly and then extend it outward as we have received it. That is what it means to live in the light.

Yet as commonsensical as this sounds, it does not feel like comon sense when someone has behaved in a way that seems undeserving of our love. At such a moment, extending our love to that person feels like the wrong thing to do, and withholding our love feels right. That tiny moment - that little bit of unloving thought that seems like just a tiny thing, just reasonable judgment - is the root of all evil. It is the cornerstone of the shadow's thought system, for it involves a separation from God and a casting of blame. God never witholds love, and we achieve sanity by learning to love as God loves.

Our task, if we are to cast out the shadow, is to learn to think only immortal thoughts, even though we live on the mortal plane. Our higher thought forms will lift the frequency of the planet, and the world will then transform.

But what about now? What makes us forget who we are, thus turning off the light and splitting the world into two separate states - love and fear? It is one thought: that someone s guilty. How we deal with human imperfection is the essential question that decides whether we dwell in the shadow or in light.

God does not look at a person who has made a mistake the same way we do. God does not seek to punish us when we have made mistakes, but to correct us. When we return to our right minds, loving unconditionally and unwaveringly, then the world itself will self-correct.

-Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect, p 148

No comments:

Post a Comment