I’ve been on a few good hikes in my day. A few good places that I wanted to simply stay and basque in the moment a little longer. Hiking up Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire, USA…climbing out of my tent at sunrise in Denali National Park in Alaska, the view from the highest pass on the Annapurna Circuit on that cloudy day in Nepal, and several more. Moments I wish I could linger and soak in where I was, what I saw, what I was smelling, tasting, feeling. And that’s just hikes. Not to mention my children being born, Iris and my first date, the places we’ve visited, etc., etc.
Then there are those other times. Those times that I could not wait to end. Dealing with a car accident, being sick with the flu, waiting for the doctor to confirm if Iris had miscarried, our oldest having an asthma attack not knowing what was going on, feeling as if I were in a fog for months, unclear of where God was leading me. Ya, those times. Those times which felt like an eternity, and I just wanted them to be over. And to be honest, who wouldn’t? They’re painful, they’re uncertain, they’re times of instability and, because we’re humans, we usually become afraid. Well, at least I know I do.
I’ve had a lot of these moments, the ones that I wanted to end so I could have some answers, so I knew what to do next or where we were headed as a family. It seems that these moments (or months) have grown in intensity and rate the past few years. Part of that could be that they simply have grown in both intensity and rate. Or, it could be that I am in a different place nowadays and am more quick to acknowledge them and engage with them. Me in my pride would like to pick the second…but I’m still not sure.
Nevertheless, I’ve had a few more of these times in my life than I would have preferred. But I am becoming more welcoming of these times. Which for me, is really odd. I was speaking with my spiritual director the other day and he had this to say, “Every time I go through a crisis of some sort, I think ‘this is going to end…’ Meaning, this opportunity for growth is going to end. Therefore, I need to glean as much from this experience as I possibly can before the opportunity passes.” He has seen great pain and great joy. But for someone, who when they realize they are in a crisis, is able to step back and say these words, more importantly, live them out-this speaks of great wisdom.
In every crisis, fog or hardship I’ve gone through, God has used it to teach me something, grow me or lead me to a new place. Maybe not a physical place (though that
has happened is happening now), but a place of better understanding of self, of others…of God himself. From past experiences, I have learned patience-a lesson I continue to learn, forgiveness, grace, peace-another one I continue to learn, humility-yet another one, rest, hope and deep, great joy. When the crisis is coming, I see it on the horizon, or I am in the middle of it, I panic. I try to figure out what to do, how to escape from it, how I can get it over with as fast as possible. But, if it’s there for a long time, I begin to settle into it. Not that I want to be in it, but if I am, I need to stop trying to escape and just be present. I don’t always have this attitude. I have people in my life that help give me perspective, help me see where I am and help me to hear what God might be saying to me. I am incredibly thankful for them.
Maybe this all sounds cliche. It might. I would not argue. It might also so pretty simple in word, but in action, it’s incredibly difficult to stop and be present-actively engaged in what God is saying. And, honestly, it is incredibly difficult. Stopping and being present seems hard to do because it is counter-cultural. We, at least we in America, don’t like to sit there and let things happen…we like to make things happen. When we make things happen, we are in control, we’re in the lead, we call the shots. But to sit and engage in the present, to listen, to just be…that is allowing something else to control, someone else to lead, and that’s hard for us. Usually when we allow others, we have victim mentality, blaming others for “doing” things to us. And in those cases, we need to use our voices and speak up. When it comes to God, however, this requires trust of him, because what is going on is him taking us to a deeper place of understanding. Understanding love, compassion, grace, mercy, trust, faith, and the list could go on. In these moments, if he really does have our best interest at heart and will never forsake us, then this can only be a time of learning. Still use your voice and speak how you’re feeling to him, question what is going on and question why. He’ll answer, this much is true. But we have to be at a point of engaging with him in order to hear it.
I only speak of personal experience. And, as I’ve said before, I wish I did this even half of the time. My prayer is for you…for me, that when that next crisis comes, or in the midst of the one we’re in right now, that we would have the courage to stop and listen. That we would ask for the smallest of peace to pause and see where God is in all of this and what he has for us. Because when this moment is over, we may not have an opportunity to linger with God in such a way that could be something utterly divine.
be blessed today
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