Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time

     It was a dark and stormy night and while some of us felt comforted others were terrified. We can too quickly chalk up our reactions to our individual temperaments, likes and dislikes. That is an easy and common answer, but that view is disempowering. The "fact" that a storm terrifies us because "that is how we are" leaves us no place to go but further into darkness and fear every time the wind blows. Rather, if we can begin to recognize that our life is simply a story we tell ourselves then we  can become more proficient writers of our days. Our thoughts (stories) lead to our actions and accumulated actions are life. On an intellectual level we may know this but so few of us actually question our own stories. Why?

     Scripture repeated calls us to "Do not turn left or right" but keep our foot on the path. Surely God does not intend for His children to literally only walk in a straight line. We would be constantly going and never arriving. Rather I think the image of left or right is a metaphor on how to deal with our life stories. On the path is an event in our day. To one side is a huge dramatic story we wrap around that event. For instance we get a splinter and immediately our minds turn to gangrene, amputation or maybe flesh eating bacterias. Are those zombies at the door? On the other side there is a willful silence in place of our story. We get a splinter and ignore it hoping it will go away. What splinter? It is somewhere in the middle of these extreme left and right scenarios that our path of faith and hope lies.
      In Ephesians God calls us to "not be tossed back and forth by the waves". These waves are our stories, our thoughts left unchecked and unexamined. The only truth I "know" or think I know is that change is the only constant in life. So perhaps the story you tell yourself  may be true today but not tomorrow. So, back to the question. Why don't we examine our stories? The left and the right are our comfort zones where we hold the illusion of control. Writing a dramatic story can fool us into thinking we have all our bases covered. Ignoring a situation can also provide temporary comfort found in numbness. That middle road of sitting with our lives without reacting emotionally can hurt like hell at times. So in order to avoid the pain of full on living we spin personal fables. What if the next time you get a big dramatic thought about your life not spinning it into a story and not ingnoring it but rather calmly clearly sitting with it? Do you assume every thought you have is true, because some of them are not. Not looking left or right and not being tossed to and fro by our thoughts these are things God calls us to. Steadiness and breath awareness are paths to God .Life is not a fairy tale nor is it a scary story it is just our life. Instead of embellishing it with fables or numbing it by ignoring it....how about living it?

And they lived happily ever after. THE END.

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