Talking of seeing our lives as victims, heroes or learners (my last post), afterwards it felt as if something was missing. We were still in the Protestant mode of being tested as if life were a supernatural exam paper. All fear and struggle. What about the Beloved?
That still place deep within where God has left his finger print. I find it in myself, when I stop spinning on the spot, when I push aside the detritus of daily life. I see it looking out of other's eyes – when I pause to see.
The Beloved is that kindness that envelopes me when my soul feels destitute. Its signature is there in all the synchronicities that pop up like signposts on my journey.
How come I happened on the TED talk on Roberto and Francesca out of the blue while peeling carrots – when I paused writing my last blog entry? It came in then at the precise paragraph where it fitted.
How come last week? I told my son that the pain clinic doctor said my brain had been permanently rewired for pain – and I was stuck with it. He said, “Can't you rewire it Mum?” And within an hour, I found a neighbour had left a book in our condo's book exchange: “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge.
How come last July? A young friend had just been paralysed in a car crash. Two weeks later on a trip to England, my sister asked friends to meet us. He was a London neuroscientist who had worked closely with the best Canadian doctors and rehab centres. “They are so good we keep trying to poach them.” He emailed their contact info the next day.
So many coincidences, so often. Nudges of fate? So many kindnesses. So I can't help feeling that life should at base be good and loving. We have made chains of sin and evil that drag us down. We are told we start off flawed. We are on a spiritual Outward Bound course, dragging through troughs of sin and despair, destined to fail just be being here at all. As a child I was not told the sky is the limit, but that life is an endurance test and that whatever I do cannot be enough. One friend told me she wouldn't know till she died whether she was chosen or not, so she just plugged on, hoping.
I would so much rather tell my story through the eyes of the blessings. Yes, life has been scary, tough and sometimes despairing. It has been unfair, deeply so at times (roll out my victim). But if I look carefully, I see the blessings like roses amidst a hedge of thorns. So often the hardships were man made, not God given. And there I also see the gestures of the Beloved.
When my mother was dying, which was long and slow due to over zealous medical resuscitation (man made!) I was very lost. Alone with my father, waiting, a continent away from my husband and kids – in fact we were all in different time zones around the world – I badly needed to talk to someone who spoke my spiritual language. I couldn't burden my father, a practical, down to earth soul who was stumbling through the days.
One morning, I was alone at the house, dismally scrubbing the kitchen floor, when the door bell rang. The local minister stood there, a deeply spiritual man who I had never met before. He talked to me for about twenty minutes with great kindness. I later found out that he was generally disliked as he never visited people. But he did that day and during the weeks that followed, I could feel the Beloved so close I could almost touch him (her?). I felt cradled in grace and, strangely, whatever we needed somehow presented itself. Afterwards, the immediacy faded and I missed the feeling of being blessed.
So what about the Beloved? The grace that can lighten our darkest hours. A CP child once wrote, (he could only type using his nose) “the good thing about being me is that people only show their kindest side.” He knew the Beloved.
So we can look at life as a victim, bewailing the injustices. As heroes, tallying our victories. Or as learners, trying to wrest a lesson out of hardship.
Or we can count the blessings, hidden like pearls in the heart of despair – and sprinkled like gold dust on our daily lives.
Einstein said: The most important question a person can ask is, “Is the Universe a friendly place?” And I think we have to look for the answer in the Beloved.