Saturday, January 28, 2012

About the size of it

I remember once hearing a song on a children's program about perspective.  Yes, by perspective I mean how things that are far away look smaller, and things that are up close look bigger. Some of the lyrics went, "Oh the big becomes the little when you move it back a bit, that's about the size of it.  That's about the size, it's where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it."  

At odd times that little ditty comes back to me to help me get some perspective on things that happen in my life.  When I'm going through something, it's huge to me.  Sometimes, God allows me the ability - temporary as it is - to step back from it and see a bit more of the big picture.  It could be something someone else says or is going through that makes my situation seem minor. Or it could be that I will catch myself saying something that I used to take for granted, like, "Oh I can't wait for (whatever) to happen."  Hm.  Really.  Well, I guess I'll just have to wait, because it won't happen until it happens, will it?  And if I live all of my present life and circumstances putting in time until it happens, then I'm missing most of my life!!  What's wrong with enjoying what is NOW, anyway?  Why does it have to be about 'pie in the sky bye and bye'?  

Anyway, lately I've been noticing how trite my circumstances seem, how mundane, how filled with trivialities they are, when there are people among my friends who are facing life-and-death situations, huge relationship upheavals, and other equally distressing events, like grief, for example.  I look at the things which seem important to me today, and somehow, compared to what some folks have to face every day, my concerns seem so pedantic, commonplace even.  More than one friend is in treatment for cancer.  Others are grieving the tragic loss of a neighbour.  Still others are struggling to survive in a daily high-stress and oppressive environment which they cannot escape.  

At times like that, I'm grateful that even with the problems I have in my own life, I have the blessings I have as well.  One of those blessings just so happens to be that I don't have any of those horrible situations in my life right now.  I do feel for those folks who do have those life-and-death situations in their lives just now, and I do pray for them - for healing, for peace, for strength.  But at the same time I do thank God that I've been spared some of what they have had to endure. And I can be thankful for some other things too. 

I thank God that He's with those friends in a very real way, and that He's given them the strength to face their own "valley of bitterness" and shine as bright lights through it, beacons of faith for those who will look.  Watching them in their journey has shed so much light on my own path.  I cannot begin to describe how phenomenal that is.

And when it comes to my own comparatively insignificant problems, I can be thankful that no matter how small a matter is, God is still interested in it, if it's important to me. Not because it's important to Him, but because I AM.  That realization just blows me away, every - single - time.

I can be thankful that at one time, not too awfully long ago, my life was a terrific mess, and that God saw fit to meet me in the middle of that mess and transform me, take my ashes and grant me some of His beauty.  I can now truly thank God that I was in the state that I was in - because if I hadn't been, I wouldn't be in a position to be able to relate to people who are now in the same situation that I once faced.  I wouldn't be able to tell them that things do get better when He is given carte blanche on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis.  Even if I did tell them - if I hadn't had the mess in my Christian past that I did, these suffering believers would never believe me, and some would never be able even to admit that they suffer as well (and so begin their own path of healing).  It's the story I have - such as it is - that allows me to be able to walk people through their own journey if they so wish.  It's the reason I wrote my book (see the right margin); it's one of the reasons I blog.  

When I am in the midst of a "situation" - it helps me gain perspective to allow myself to really feel what I'm feeling: to admit it is there without hiding from it. That way I can deal with the feelings head-on, and get from them what they're trying to tell me about my inner life.  Then I can release them and move on in gratitude. At that point, I can experience God's peace, and somehow, the problem doesn't seem so large anymore.  

I can't escape from my circumstances. And I can't escape from my feelings.  I know; I tried.  The more I tried to escape from my feelings, the more they pursued me, the larger they became.  So I've learned to seek a divine perspective early on in the game, and give myself permission to be human and to not have all the answers, to leave the answers to God.  

He's always had them anyway.

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