This morning finds me wishing to take a day completely off; to listen to the birds squawking, the chimes ringing lightly in the breeze, and to the sound of the breath going in and out of my body. The rain is gently falling, so what better thing to do on a wet and cloudy Sunday in Oregon?
The year so far has brought challenges with it in regards to loved ones; one receiving treatment for advanced stage cancer; others dealing with the aftermath of a severe car accident; my Jewel continuing to age as gracefully as a 15 year old Siberian Husky can. My involvement as a friend and support person is a piece of cake compared to the frightening, intense and extremely painful (on all levels) trials they have to go through. But today, I do find myself ... well, let’s call it “weary.”
Yesterday I had a visit with my dear friend who, along with another friend, was in a terrible car accident at the beginning of February. His body is broken and battered. It is now, that all the surgeries are behind him, the infections gone, the trach out, that he begins his “recovery.” I have been visiting him throughout the past month and a half; yesterday’s visit was the hardest because now he is very aware of his situation. He knows he cannot walk. He knows his waste goes directly from his intestines to a bag. He knows his brain isn’t working properly. And he knows this situation is full of pain (not only physical, but emotional, mental and spiritual). He knows there is a very long road ahead, and from where he is right now, the path looks impassable. He does not know if he ever will walk again. He does not know if he’ll ever be able to take care of himself again. He does not know if the pain will ever go away. He does not know anything about what is going to happen next. Of course, we never do.
Before this began, he was starting a new job and finishing his degree. Did he have any idea what would happen next? When this happened, we didn’t know if he was going to live or die. One day, it looked like that was it; the next, things were looking okay; the next, whisked back to emergency; the next he’s on the upside again. Did we have any idea what would happen next? Not for instant. And now ... we say to him “you’ll heal”, “the pain will lessen”, “your mind will clear up”, “you’ll be able to weight bear again”, “the bag will come out in time” ... but we don’t really know what will happen next, do we?
I understand that this is precisely the place that Faith resides. It is only through faith that the human being has the courage and fortitude to pass through these times. Faith in what, we ask? The scriptures, our teachers, and the masters tell us (translated here into my own words): we must have faith in the universal force that creates all life; faith in that abiding love within which gives rise to a peaceful feeling when we are able to maintain our focus and attention on it. Faith that no matter what happens, everything has a purpose in this life which is ultimately for the highest and best good of all. It’s all part of an evolutionary process of the energy of love becoming conscious.
I remember when I was in the midst of the most traumatic event of my life dealing with my mother’s death process. A friend, a very spiritual person, said to me “you will be okay again.” I wanted to throw something at her. I would never be “okay” again. The pain of that experience, the intense suffering my beloved mother, and as a result the whole family, had to endure was beyond anything I had ever imagined, let alone experienced. It opened my eyes not only to an individual’s suffering, but to the suffering of thousands and thousands of people going through the same experience. It was on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and (especially for me) spiritual. NOTHING was EVER going to be OKAY again; and how dare anyone say that to me?
Three years later, while I wouldn’t say I’m “okay”, I know and appreciate that my life, my heart and my soul have been forever changed by that experience. The pollyanna attitudes I had about life are gone. My naivete about how happy and playful an experience life is, is gone. My appreciation of the “joy of life” is completely altered. For me now, joy is found in peace. I can only really experience joy if I feel at peace. My spiritual work for the past few years has been a search for inner peace; for the ability to have strong enough faith that whatever is happening is ultimately for the highest and best of every being, and even for the highest and best good of the universal life force itself.
The trials and tribulations of my loved ones are my training ground. To be able to maintain inner peace during times of greatest suffering is the mark of a master. The only way to become a master is practice, practice, and more practice. Life will always provide the opportunities to practice. In my friend’s hospital room, I have to practice. I have to find that peace within me in order to help him find that within himself especially at this time when all he can see is the darkness of the tunnel. I do not yet find this easy; hence a day of feeling weary. Today I will recharge and remind myself that all I can do is hold his hand, and walk through the tunnel with him, so that together we will see what happens next.
~ Blessings for your day! Linda