“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
The first of the two Easters is here once again. (I celebrate two, which gives me something to explain every year.)
And of course, it’s time for bright ribbons, colored eggs in a white porcelain bowl, and that delightful sound of tulip stems rubbing against each other as they are placed in a vase.
The time for remembering loved ones who are no longer with us, and celebrating those who are. For crying a little while noticing the tenderness of so many things. For wishes. For reflection. For gratitude.
I wanted to write an inspiring story for Easter this year. But I was tired. And so I found only silence. And in the silence, something totally unexpected.
It turns out that sometimes, when we’ve been on a very long and difficult journey, we are called to stop for a while in a space of simplicity and silence. A space where we are completely real. Where the ego settles into a gentle rest in the arms of the heart. And the heart settles into a gentle rest in the arms of the soul. And the soul sings not in words and not in music but with a perfect measure of grace, which I can only describe as colors and joy blossoming in sunlight.
For the first time in my life, just in time for Easter, I found myself offering a prayer I’ve never said before. It shocked me with its necessity and clarity.
The fighter in me knelt. Not in resentful defeat. She knelt with her entire being, willingly, fully embracing the privilege of the gesture. Not thinking, just doing it.
And she said: “Thank you god, universe, mother, all-father …thank you for the pain and the struggle. They made me humble.”
I sat for a while in shock over the words that had just come out of my mouth. Perhaps it is true that the greatest miracle comes right after a time in our lives when opposition is the greatest and things come at us from every direction.
I don’t know how many people would choose a difficult journey. I know I wouldn’t have. I would have talked about how we must choose authentic and challenging paths, as many do, and taken great pride in my wisdom and experience in avoiding the difficult path.
It’s one thing to talk about something and quite another to experience it.
Difficult journeys are difficult to talk about. And really difficult ones leave you with very few words in the end.
Because you are too busy fighting everything and especially yourself, trying to find faith, purpose and direction, and then the strength to sustain them. It’s like being in deep, stormy waters, and falling under, and doing everything you can to hold your soul above the surface so that it can take a breath. And then you do it again, and again.
In the end, you realize that you have no control whatsoever, that you can’t explain the why or the how, that you are just as special and not special as everyone else. And that the only things that matter are kindness and love. That’s it.
Of course, just as we know what humble can mean and seeing can mean because of struggle, we can also know these things because of joy.
This spring, it feels like we have or are reaching some kind of threshold. Which, once crossed, opens for us a wonderful path of opportunities, of redemption if you will.
And so, trusting in intuition, to honor you and this very special holiday, I wanted to share a wish for love and blessings. With gratitude.
“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.
As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.
Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.
As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”
― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings