I used to have a recurrent dream when I was younger. I would be underwater and couldn’t surface. Something was holding me back making it impossible for me to rise. I would be terrified, knowing I was about to die from lack of oxygen. And when it hurt too much to hold my breath any longer I would relinquish my hold on this life, close my eyes in prayer, and then breathe in the water. It was then I would find that I could breathe, as deeply and purely as I could above the surface. I felt such relief and a pure joy that I cannot describe, and I would look around me in wonder, completely mesmerized at the beauty surrounding me. This is the closest I can come to describing those few enlightened moments I have experienced in 2011….like breathing underwater.
I used to believe that the theme of my life was “patience.” Every big experience seemed to point to my need to learn patience. I could go on and on with examples including family challenges, life choices, and personal difficulties that for so long seemed to point to this central theme.
But then came 2011.
It has presented me with what is perhaps my biggest personal struggle yet…learning to live inside a body that not only needs, but demands tender loving care. I am not good at putting my needs first…maybe not even second or third. And now I must put my body first or all the rest goes to Hell. There’s that patience theme again…or is it??? I think maybe not.
In 2011 I have come to believe that I’ve been missing The Lesson. All these years I thought I needed to learn patience. I now believe God has been trying to teach me a different and much deeper lesson. Perhaps He has been trying to teach me to relinquish control…reminding me that life cannot be controlled or predictable…that it is in the letting go that life can be truly lived, love can be freely given, faith can be wholly realized. Not only am I not “in control” but I must learn how to release my illusion of control and simply trust that all that is outside of it is, in fact, in much greater hands.
This year has forced me to a place of no control. At times I have felt like someone else is operating my ride and won’t let me off no matter how loud I scream. But at the same time, 2011 has christened me with glimpses of what relinquishing control feels like. It is difficult to find the words to describe it, but I have felt it…moments of pure peace where I let go and float on a wave of calm understanding. The moments are brief, and I can’t access them easily yet, but they are there. When I can quiet my mind and shut out the noise they are there.
God hasn’t been trying to teach me patience. That is a trivial thing I continue to work on. He has been placing challenges before me that point my Soul to something deeper.
Hello 2012, and a very Happy New Year to you all! May it be one filled with many moments of calm understanding for all of us.