Reflection for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Moses said to the people, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.” Deuteronomy 30
The skies have finally cleared after several days of chilly gloom and the sun is bright. It’s one of those “blessing” days. At least so far. The previous two days have fit more in the “curse” category: I stubbed my toe for no good reason at all which reactivated an injury to my knee and yesterday I dropped a jar of coconut oil on the floor and of course it smashed and made a mess to clean up. Again, I dropped it for no good reason – it was more one of those “is” things. But today I’ll take as a blessing day – it’s bright and cheery and the temperature warming up.
Life is like that isn’t it? We get the blessings days and the curses days. And we try to figure out why or what happened or how we are responsible – or if someone else is responsible. Sometimes there’s a why and sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes it’s just an IS.
IS needs to be an acronym for something – let’s say “indeterminate suffering.”
The point is – we do. We have indeterminate sufferings and, for that matter, indeterminate blessings. It’s part of life. The task, again and again, is to bring ourselves to a place of peace with both. It’s easy to fight and rail against the curses; it’s easy to think the blessings our due.
Observe today how you react to the little blessings, the little curses. Or the big ones (and sometimes we’re better with the big ones than the little ones). Observe a tendency to react in anger, a suddenness to worry, a jump into stubbornness. A forgetfulness to give thanks.
And in your observation, turn to peace. After all, wouldn’t you rather be at peace?
8 thoughts on “Doing It Anyway”
“… to bring ourselves to a place of peace with both” reminds me of one of the strangest places I ever found spiritual comfort, the movie Groundhog’s Day. Bill Murray’s character was more than a little frustrated with living the same day again and again, until he lived that day to its fullest. The same day being repeated but with a choice of how to react to it seemed an apt allegory for my life.
Thanks, Dan. What an interesting reminder – there is a choice, isn’t there, on how to live life.
Loved your reflection today. In New York (City), We had a day of excessive rain, cold and wind, cursed weather. Also had a few blessings. Was able to accept the weather “as is” and embrace the fleeting but real blessings. Standing somewhere in (and on) the middle ground, letting it all come and go, accepting, peaceful thru it all feels right. Am using this lenten season (spring) turn me inward a bit every day to contemplate and cherish all the catastrophes and blessings each day offers for our growth.
Thanks so much for responding Evan. Accepting weather “as is” may be one of the best lessons for most of us! Because you’re right, it is.
Yay, thank you! You made me laugh on my first day of committing to laughing when I’d otherwise fret. I laughed because I identified with the little curses of dropping things that make messes and stubbing toes (or in my case this morning, malfunctioning printers and missing butterfly stickers). These things do feel like curses in the moment and after we get over the anger and clean up the mess, we can sometimes laugh at what happened.
My engineer father tried to teach me a similar lesson–the engineer’s version of “it simply IS (or isn’t)”–stuff happens, no need to take it personally, let’s figure out what to do now. Maybe we can prevent this from happening again, maybe we can’t–either way, let’s choose how we want to respond now and (maybe) in the future.
Thank you, Dad and thank you, Janet, for sharing your wisdom.
You’re welcome! Thank you for the idea of laughter being the solver of distress. I wish I’d been able to laugh when I dropped the jar of coconut oil. I didn’t. But I didn’t curse either, so I guess that’s sort of hitting the in-between – stuff happens.
If IS=”indeterminate sufferings” then does it follow that the ID (as opposed to EGO) equals “I do”?!
I do…believe in the order of events outside my power to fathom
I do…release my desire to know it all
I do…choose to react with thoughtfulness
I do…resolve to be at ease with what is and what is not
I like that! What an interesting way to think about the Id. Thank you.