When the weather gets dry out here in Southern California, typically I get sick. My sinus gets achy, and icky; my lungs cough; and my entire face gets dry, dry, dry. And right now in SoCal, it's like the Sahara.
However, the benefit of this unfortunate weather came in the form of a simile tonight: in seasons of dryness -- whether due to failure, frustrated hopes, or other losses -- tears can be like a stream in the desert. The subtle water that wets the soil. In times of loss, holding it all in -- our pain, confusion, hurt, anger -- doesn't resolve the situation. Our inner circumstances can remain unchanged, even if our external circumstances resolve in our favor. How much more pain is there when so often they don't?
So when we can release our tears of bitterness, forgiveness, grief, or frustration in a safe place of prayer or with a trusted friend -- connecting them with the involved circumstances -- healing can begin to flow.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Overwhelmed and anxious. Today I woke up hopeful and optimistic. But as I opened my computer I was reminded of a thing before me; a thing I've been avoiding; a thing I want (I think); a thing that requires me to risk; that requires me to ask for help.
I tried to open the online application. My organs and insides twisted and turned yelling both, "Do it!" and "Now's a good time to check Facebook." Conflict. Tension. Already but not yet. So rather than do either (okay, I spent 5-minutes checking Facebook) I went to my thinking place -- the restroom. I hadn't thought of it until this moment, but the restroom has been a place of solitude, a place to think, reassured that someone won't come busting through the door. I like that safety and peacefulness. It settles my soul.
With the door shut behind me I exhaled. And as my mind calmed I remembered something my spiritual director said to me: You can just take one step at a time. Exploring your options doesn't mean you've committed.
Calmed and reassured I attempted to go back to my application. Nope. Still too much static. So instead I opened a book that's been a calming influence these past weeks -- Anne Lamott's Plan B. And in the chapter I read Jesus seemed to be speaking to me through her words: the next right thing. Another way of saying: one step at a time.
As I reflected on these words I was reminded that my fear and anxiety were related to scenarios not yet played out. They weren't about my ability to fill out an application. They were related to the what if's: What if I got accepted? What if I got turned down? Am I good enough to apply? Am I fooling myself in entertaining this dream? If they say yes, am I willing to sacrifice what it will take to follow this dream? And as real and big as these what if's are, they aren't before me today. What is before me is the application -- the next right thing.