If you’re like most people you make plans. You plan what’s for dinner, you plan your vacation, you plan your retirement. My Dad is one of the biggest planners of all. Honestly I think his insurance has insurance (not that I’m complaining). The one thing he didn’t plan for however was my Mother passing away before him.
He was confident in his plan of providing for her every need after he was gone but alas our Heavenly Father had different plans and apparently needed Mom up there to organize some social engagements (her specialty).
We all miss her terribly – but after 63 years of marriage my Father’s sense of loss is something we can’t possibly imagine. How do you ever make sense of losing the ones you love? How do we accept the changes in our health? How does anyone come to terms with knowing that your own life, however well lived, is coming to a close? No matter how well we plan, how do we ever come to a place of acceptance?
In Eckart Tolle’s book – The New Earth the author talks at great length about accepting “what is”. It is incredibly hard to realize that sometimes “what is” simply IS. We spend a great deal of time and effort trying to will the world to go OUR way. It seems we are constantly fighting the existence of “what is”. Eckart Tolle writes, “When we internally stand in conflict to what is – there is an inner state of war. If one can let go of this inner resistance we often find that circumstances change for the better.”
To a certain degree I think we all long for what used to be. I wish I had the energy I possessed when I was younger. My Dad wishes my Mom was still here. My mother in law wishes she could still live at home. It’s human nature. What we may be forgetting is that it takes a lot of energy to sustain that negativity and denial of our present circumstances.
Often when we don’t keep these feelings in check this longing for different circumstances causes more pain and suffering for ourselves and those around us. In The New Earth, Eckart Tolle reminds us that “learning to accept the current moment can be life changing and life affirming.”
What we do have is right now. We are no longer able to have an effect on the past – the past is gone. The good news is one of the greatest gifts life can give us is to look at “what is” and find the good in that. What we have is this moment – how we live it, how we perceive it and how our lives impact those around us. This is when we move beyond our physical circumstances and experience something much more profound - the seed of spiritual growth.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) said it best when he penned the Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Let us pray for acceptance, courage and wisdom and know that the path of life is the road to spiritual growth.