A lot of people are experiencing some heavy emotional stuff right now. I mean a lot. The pandemic itself may be over but the ripple effect seems to be resounding throughout the community. Megan’s brother died of an overdose, and Scott’s son committed suicide. Sandy’s daughter attempted suicide. Mary’s depression has mushroomed into a force field preventing her from leaving the house. Sarah’s dog died unexpectedly triggering long-dormant grief. My real estate friend is rethinking her career at 50 years old while her new husband recovers from his second surgery since their wedding.
Repercussions of the pandemic roll over our lives like big waves off the North Shore. The only thing to do is hold on and wait.
My family is in the calm after the storm right now. If you’ve been reading along with me for the past few months you’ve experienced my struggles with accepting God’s wildness and his ultimate authority.
I talk a lot about God but not necessarily to God. And it’s only been in the last tidal wave of unexpected chaos that I’ve truly practiced listening to God.
When the tsunami comes we are tempted to rail against the Universe, “Why are you letting this happen? Why are you doing this to me?” Or grow silent and sullen. “ Fuck this. If this is the way it’s’ going to be then I don’t want anything to do with you and your wretched will.“
Some of us go the other way, we try to manipulate God by holding him accountable to the promises in the Bible. “You SAID, that you had plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I’m claiming that promise RIGHT NOW!” When the prayers aren’t answered in the time that we think that they should be, we think that heaven has gone silent. We start to think he’s not listening. He’s not there. And ultimately, he doesn’t care.
My friend Mercia reminds me that I am not God. I don’t get to choose what happens in this world. I can’t control it. I can’t change it. And no matter what I do, I can’t manipulate God. She reminds me of my utter powerlessness before my Creator. At first, that feels horrible. Who wants to be powerless? But then I am reminded that my God has all power and that he loves me and that like the scripture says, is working all things for my good. I just can’t see It yet.
It’s pouring down rain as I’m writing now. How can I find peace in the storm? How can I be still and wait to see how things will unfold when everything feels bleak. When it looks as though there is no change, no end, no hope. Over the past 8 months, I’m learning that it isn’t about the way I pray or the modality of my mediation. It doesn’t matter which holy books I study. It’s all about connection. Connection with my spouse, my kid, my community, and ultimately with God.
Imagining that I am surrounded by a spirit of complete compassion.
Practicing the presence of unconditional love, forgiveness, and kindness.
When I do this regularly, I can be more at peace while the storm rages on.
Eventually, this too shall pass, friends. And while you wait, remember God is at work. Plugin, practice the presence of God.
Just for today
I will take 2 minutes in the morning to be still and practice connecting to my Higher Power. I will connect with someone I love and I will take 2 minutes before bed to practice stillness and connection to God.
(excerpted from the Prayer of St. Patrick)
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today