Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grace in the Courtroom: How to Pick YourSELF Up from Darkness

Whenever we’re down, or at least, whenever I’m down, I usually want comfort, but not advice.  When I really think about it, other people’s advice is like loud noise, whereas comfort is like pure silence.  The sadness I experience in life is sometimes so loud, that I just want people to listen, and the act of listening comforts me.  When people give their advice, sometimes, I realize how little they know about me, and the advice rarely “hits the mark.”  Either way, when I include other people’s judgment into the equation, I rarely feel fully satisfied.  At those times, I realize being alone with God is key to my healing.

The other day, I had a moment where I felt truly alone.  I wanted advice, but I knew I may not have the strength to follow the potential advice that was given.  So, as an instinctive “Cancer” move, I ran.  I ran to Riverside Park, and I sat for four hours – alone.   An hour later, I walked for three hours – alone again.  It appeared that in all that silence, I wouldn’t be able to hear a thing, but the reality was, because I was alone, I could hear everything.

I realized we rarely force ourselves (albeit a blanketed observation) to be alone and think.  What “being alone” and “thinking” truly does, is allows God’s energy take over.  Since there isn’t the confusion of advice that is ill-suited for our individual journey, we can actually hear clearly to apply directions specifically.

It’s not that some miraculous booming voice-over comes from the swathing clouds, but really, our own opinion begins to count for something.  We actually ask ourselves questions, and give ourselves a chance to answer.  What we realize is that we become our own courtroom; Our own judge.  We play out all sides of the story, because we are desperate to find some semblance of truth within our misery.  We have an unyielding need to find an answer that helps us get over the pain.  And what we find is we do come to a conclusion – if we allow ourselves the grace to forgive ourselves. 

When we sit alone, we have to find a way to deal with our situation, so that we do not come back to it broken.  We frantically want an answer, but are not patient or affable enough to simply let go, and forgive ourselves.  Of what do we need to forgive ourselves?  We need to forgive ourselves for being who we are in that moment.  We are in darkness because we have acted in a certain way, but have regret, anger, pity, or a slew of false emotions that we use to punish ourselves for behaving in that way.  And, in a last ditch effort to find the answer (judgment) or to find the guilty party (us or the other person/situation with whom we have interacted), we flee, hoping to find out where to place the blame.

Ultimately, the judge is God, and in the moment of silence, we represent that judge.  The main time we are given allowance to judge is when we are alone!  This is because the only voice in our head besides our own is God’s voice, and so, by virtue of process of elimination, we are the judge of ourselves!  And because we are the judge, we can opt to both forgive our self and the other person.  Very rarely does one sit alone and come back broken…as long as the individual gives their self a fair chance and sufficient time to come to a conclusion.

So, as I go out into the world, I have made this vow:  When in true doubt or despair, I must go be alone in my courtroom.  I must play out the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s sides equally, and I must give my court a fair amount of time to decide the verdict.  I realize in a real court of law, the jury may deliberate for months…so, for as long as it takes for that particular case, I will treat it as a real court of law.  When I come to my verdict, it shall be fair, and most of all, gracious! 

WE will come out victors, because in this court, even the “guilty” are given a chance to be treated fairly. 

Peace and Peace.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Faith: Gratitude for the Future

One facet of “writing it down” that I often seem to forget about, is being grateful. 

Gratitude has an easy textbook definition: [appreciating benefits received].  But, if you notice, the definition is in the past tense.  So, by inference, you can only be grateful after a benefit has been given.   I certainly remember to thank God when I have received a benefit, but what happens when you write something down, and you are hopeful for it, but it doesn’t happen?

As many of you know, my first book club recommendation is Write it Down, Make it Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser.  And, like many passionate authors, Klauser is thorough – thorough enough to point out the “whys” that occur when something written down doesn’t happen.

Sometimes, the faith that we have in the future, is dramatically defined by the knowledge of the past.  We may have been abused, but by virtue of life experience, we now understand the reason for that abuse, and we become grateful for it.  Yet, in our current circumstance, we may get abused again, but cannot find our way out.  So, in frantic hopes that God will do his “magic,” we write down our vision of being freed from this abuse.  And, in a funny turn of events, we don’t receive reprieve from the abuse.  Why? 

Perhaps the retroactive gratitude displays a wavering faith.  Perhaps true faith lies in the “knowledge” of the future.  Perhaps we so often over-identify with the knowledge of the past, that we forget to acknowledge that which has not yet been given, and in turn, our dreams do not become a reality.

By acknowledging the benefit before it is given, we are stepping off a cliff onto a platform that doesn’t exist [yet]. We are saying that we know our feet will have a place to rest even though we cannot physically see it.  And by being grateful for something that has yet to appear, we are showing faith.

Let me articulate this point further: I am not saying that the platform (per say) will appear as we know it (i.e. the minute we step off the cliff), but it will appear.  For example – we may step off of a cliff, thanking God in advance for the platform.  But because we are truly faithful, we fall several feet before our feet land on a stretch of earth.  We do not become caught up in the illusion that we are falling, and perhaps will plummet to our death.  Or that perhaps during the long fall, we will be scathed and injured.  Instead, because we are truly grateful for and focus on the outcome, the outcome appears, albeit differently than we can conceive with our humanly mind.

The point is, retroactive gratitude isn’t necessarily gratitude at all – it’s just an experience that we are happy to have been given!  Since we have already seen how God moves in our lives, we aren’t showing knowledge of the unseen, because we already saw it!   Of course we are grateful.  We know that it happened for sure!  On the flip side, living out our futures gratefully, we are practicing faith in the truest form, and believing in the unseen.  We don’t know how it’s going to happen, but we know the outcome, because we feel confident enough to be grateful for the “unknown”.

So, let us write in gratitude, as Klauser points out.  Let’s be thankful before the act has occurred.  Let us know the outcome.  As far as I am concerned, it seems the only time I receive in abundance is when I am grateful for the unknown.

Write it down, be grateful, make it happen.

Peace and Peace.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The "New" Beginning

Since reading, Write it Down, Make it Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser, I have been determined to change my life.  It just so happens that an insurmountable heap of obstacles have presented themselves to my life in a seemingly personal way.  As a warrior, I have now decided to confront my life's demons, and embrace them as a necessary part of my journey. 

Klauser has many astute points in her book, but the most poignant and obvious is how powerful writing truly is.  So, in celebration of a new reality, my writing will serve as the newest addition to my fellowship with my Creator.  I vow to make the next step of my life in total faith, and I vow to be a friend to anyone in need.

Keep in mind: this blog will be at times long winded, and at other times, still...but that is the balance of life.  There will be testimonials, comedy, and a hodgepodge of life experiences layed across this backdrop.  With that said, it takes a truly open mind to receive the information I will present in this blog.

I will be as open as is humanly possible to all of you and your testimonials.  Don't be shy!  I want to read your testimonials.  It drives me spiritually.  Don't be embarrassed, either - the truth is the truth, and it "truly" sets you free.  So, write at free will... I promise I won't judge you (I can't say the same for anyone else)!

I must also add...I don't believe in a separatist God.  I believe in God.  In various languages, the term "God" is given many names.  I want you to know that I FULLY respect the individual thinker, and the REALITY that some of us don't call "him" God, nor do some of us assign a gender to this divine spirit.  If you join me in my journey, I ask that you respect every one's right to their own interpretation of "God," and understand that I am referring to God in the way I know how.

I also ask that you remain open to one fundamental truth in life: not a single one of us has chosen to be here.  Not a single one of us has chosen (consciously) to be born to the parents, religion, race, creed, gender, or social status that we have learned as reality.  With that realization must come the level of respect to understand that each of us has our own lives, and can only find our way out of our personal "hell" by dealing with that life.  None of us can be expected to understand any other life but our own.  Testimonials are a means of unifying us, through which we gain insight into the other individual, and embrace the commonalities we share.

I love you all equally, and I realize we may not all agree.  I also realize many have far underestimated their position in their spiritual journey, and for that, are not capable of deciphering my words.  They may perceive them as confusing, hypocritical, or contradictory.  They may respond in negativity.  I welcome all of it as part of the greater journey...having to go through the dark to see the light.  I will work my hardest to see through such levels of negativity and to embrace each person fully.

Now, let me leave you with this promise:  I will write from my heart.  I will do my best.  I will articulate myself with a simplicity designed to help us ALL understand life's many lessons, no matter what our background.  And I will do this all through testimony, research, and most of all, Pure Faith.

Thank you for taking the time to share life with me, and I thank God in advance for helping others sort through the spiritual language barrier to see my intent (and not my words).

Peace and Peace.