I opened up my new book The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck with hopes of relief and guidance on the horizon. Page 1 of chapter 1, he began, “Life is difficult.” Everything else I had grasped to read talked of anything but this dismal statement. But, the 3 words blew my mind. They were powerful? They resonated deep in my soul.
Those 3 words were like a hug of empathy.
Those 3 words confirmed how I felt.
Those 3 words and the ones that followed, ushered me into a truth haven I had not known before. (this incident occurred about 10 years ago and its truth wrapped around my human frailty recently once again)
“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult, because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
We do not have to argue the truth, life is difficult. No matter how much money we have or what may appear to be privileged circumstances, we all have it in common. We could argue to what degree, but we all experience life, sickness, and death in ourselves or our loved ones. We all experience the consequences of someone in our life not being loving. These are inescapable. Yes, we share in joy, love, and many other wondrous things, but disappointments, trial, and death are unavoidable.
How Do We Cope in Acceptance:
This is why churches, temples, and communities of people gather, life is difficult. For one hour, we can encourage one another. For some moments in time, we can celebrate, because we have to leave this place and face life again. All religions and faiths recognize our earthly destiny. All holy leaders in history have been raised up containing this truth and offer wisdom for us in how to cope and most of all love. Buddhism’s main tenet is compassion. Why are we taught compassion? Because there is suffering. AA is onto something, knowing the power of support. The first 90 days of recovery, members agree to 90 meetings in 90 days. We need help. We need one another.
The Divine Locker Room
We all need time in the Divine locker room to be pumped up, cared for, or to rest before we head back out on the field of life again. Sometimes our time in the locker room for rehabilitation is extended. This Universe can’t have exhausted enlightened ones! Sometimes we’re at the top of the lineup and need to stay in the game longer than anyone else. Our heart and our exhaustion meter will tell us which and what we are to do.
Where are you? Are you honoring both places? I write about this today because I have been called to the locker room, and I have a few very close friends who are in here with me. We are exhausted. We have practiced love and compassion as best as our humanity could, and we are worn out. We all feel the Divine say, “Well done, let me take over and you rest.” It is a sweet reminder that it is the Divine that ultimately does the work anyway. Our human bodies and minds need rest.
I believe it is at this pivotal point where nervous breakdowns or other physically debilitating situations can occur. God loves us, and knows we need to rest. Let God take over and allow your teammates do their part. But, many of us resist and insist. For the first time in a long time, I was on my way to my demise, until my mentor, my Mom, and some kindreds reminded me of the truth. They reassured me of my service. They affirmed my compassion for others. Songs from my childhood faith came to mind, “I Surrender All,” “It is Well with my Soul,” “and Blessed Assurance.” Scriptures: “Cast your burdens on me,” “Do not worry, for your Father in heaven knows what you need before you even ask,” and “Entrust yourself in my keeping.” Many thoughts and phrases from the plethora of spiritual teachers I have read or heard rushed to comfort me. Buddhism purports meditation and talks about the necessity of a Sangha – a community of kindreds. The Divine works magically in these ways and many others, through our memories, friends, thoughts, and countless other mysterious and overt ways. Don’t miss them.
I was led to return to a church this past Sunday that I had been divinely led to attend years ago. Talk about being baptized in love. The whole service was for me (well it felt like it anyway, I am quite sure others had their socks blessed off too.) I felt so moved, inspired, and loved. They powerfully reminded me with every song, every greeting, and every word, of the truth. The truth sets us free. I am safe, protected, and healed in the Divine locker room. I will be sent out when it is time.
1. Life is difficult. No one is exempt.
2. Acknowledgement and Acceptance moves us toward cope and hope.
3. Know when to go in the Divine Locker Room.
4. There is no shame in support. It is a vital necessity.
5. Trust the process. Know we are all in this together.
Sunshine & Smiles,
(the church I refer to is Tanner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church – thank you for being a diamond in the desert)