Friday, November 22, 2013

Finding the Healing Road

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Driven To Your Knees

A time comes in your life when, in the midst of your obsessive struggle to avoid failure and to capture success, you are driven to your knees in defeat.

Perhaps from sheer exhaustion or a sickness of heart that drains away hope, you find it impossible to stand. You realize that your every effort is only making your situation worse. Somewhere inside your head a voice cries out,


You surrender, however reluctantly, to the idea that you cannot change things out there. You finally see that even if the people around you change, your life will not improve.

You remember the dozens of times when you completely squandered good fortune and generosity. You find it harder and harder to exercise blind faith in your delusions. You know unless there is a dramatic change within you, nothing can save you from yourself.

You slowly come to terms with the hurt that others caused you. You stop complaining and blaming God and other people for the things they did to you – or didn't do for you. You stop judging and pointing fingers, because in seeing yourself as you are, you no longer find pleasure in their flaws.

Learning to Laugh, to Love, and to Share

Oddly enough, around this time your sense of humor begins to return as you realize the absurdity of the delusions you have been holding onto. As you learn to laugh at yourself while loving yourself, your wounds begin to heal.

You learn the sharp, painful difference between wanting and needing, then you begin to awaken to the fulfillment of letting go of what you want so that you can- perhaps for the first time in your adult life- get what you need.

You discover that no single human being- not your parents, not your lovers or your friends or the authority figures around you- can fill in the gaps in your life. Instead, you begin to realize that you can accept whatever people have to give you, as partial and incomplete as it may be.  You add it to what others have given you so that over time, your life becomes steadily more fulfilling.

You marvel at how passing on these gifts to others does not diminish your joy but inevitably causes it to increase.

Building on New Foundations

You learn that qualities such as honesty and integrity, far from being laughable signs of weakness are the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that wishing for something to happen is different than working to make it happen.

As you come to terms with the reality that you won’t achieve overnight success, you begin to experience smaller victories. You barely notice them at first, but as you develop humility, you grow in your ability to enjoy every kind of progress. You begin to see the connection between your gains and your ability to exercise direction, discipline and perseverance.

You notice that none of these milestones were achieved on your own; in fact, you realize that your good fortune has increased in direct proportion to your ability to stop hogging the lime light, to work well with others, and to give credit where credit is due. You begin to see how God has been doing many things for you that you could not do for yourself.

You gradually become convinced nobody is punishing you and life’s misfortunes are not always someone's fault. You begin to believe that God is far more interested in your well-being than you ever imagined, and as you test that belief, you find yourself becoming less self-focused and more responsive to the good that comes your way.

One Last Lesson

If you are extremely fortunate, about this time you fail. You find yourself crashing headlong into the the bitter reality that not all of your risks or your hard work will be rewarded, at least not in the short run.
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Soon after you pull yourself out of your shock and confusion, it occurs to you to complain bitterly to God.  However, instead of giving you a direct answer, God sends one of those people you learned to share your good fortune with to help you see that you may have done your finest work in the midst of failure, and that you have much to be proud of even though you have little else to show for the effort. 

You kneel in deliberate, prayerful contemplation.

You rise. You dust yourself off, take stock of your situation and somehow find unexpected grace in laughter.

Then you begin again

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