Lifted Up by the Waves of Change

“…progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill.” – Mary Baker Eddy

 ***

I kind of surprised myself yesterday. A friend was sharing some of the challenges he’s dealing with in his life right now – telling me about some really absurd glitches in our legal system that seem to have wreaked havoc on his financial situation. And my first reaction was to get angry at the injustice, inequity, and unfairness of it all. But – and this is the part that surprised me – as he told me about his circumstances – low on funds, looking for steady income, his livelihood depending more and more on his part-time gigs as a musician, rather than on a typical “day job” – I found myself actually starting to feel excited for him.

I recognized that he’s in that incredible place of change and growth, possibility and opportunity, that have marked the last year for me – and I felt really happy for him. I know. That must sound weird, eh? But I just knew, as I listened to him, that he has been brought to the brink of something really amazing.  He is at the cusp of change.

***

It’s been a year now since I encountered my own “cusp of change,” and it has been one of the most amazing years of my life.

Twelve months ago my life appeared to be in crisis. The underpinnings for my financial security were on the brink of being pulled out, my twenty-year career was coming to an end, and I was looking at unfairness and inequity that left me reeling, emotionally.  When the boat finally capsized, figuratively, I found myself washed up on an unfamiliar shore, stripped of financial security and purpose, and with no clear solution to the challenges of my situation. I really had no choice but to start over and rebuild from the bottom up.

And it was awesome!

For the first time in years I didn’t have to try to fit my life into a rigid schedule and a tight structure.  My life was my own to create as I felt led. Creativity danced up to the front of the line, and concerns about conformity, pleasing others, and money retreated to the rear.  Opportunities that required my skills and talents as a writer presented themselves; photography became a big part of my life; and a position at a local alternative high school opened up for me.

And I had a sort of epiphany: I never want to be paid so much money that I no longer own my own “soul.”  I want enough to live and be comfortable and to share with others – but I don’t want so much that I become dependent on it, and feel the need to give up my own sense of right and wrong to keep getting it. I never, again, want to feel beholden to a company or business or system, for my security.

The inequity and unfairness that my friend is experiencing right now, and that I experienced a year ago under somewhat different circumstances, are actually a blessing, I think.  “Trials are proofs of God’s care,” Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and later she writes, “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.”

Love, God, has always been with me – through the good stuff and the “bad” – leading and guiding me, and opening up new doors ahead of me, as other doors have closed behind me. In the last year I’ve come to recognize that Love will always provide for me and mine, and that I never need to fear what the future holds; It holds nothing but good – because even the “bad” is transformed into something good when we put Love at the helm.

Things are starting to settle in my life now. The wave of change has carried me to a place where I have the opportunity to express God more fully and completely than I could from my former position in life.  There is freedom here, and great joy. I kind of miss the wild, heady exhilaration of the wave of change that brought me here. But I’m going to enjoy all that I’ve gained from the wave, and the place where it’s brought me.  I expect other waves are waiting for me in the future, and I look forward to them.

___

“God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” – Romans 8: 28

Or, to paraphrase: We know that all things work together for good to them that love Love.

Open to the Possibility of Good

“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.”

– from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

***

This has simply been an amazing year.  As some of you know, last year I felt led to leave my job of 20 years and launch myself into The Great Unknown. I knew it was the right thing for me to do, but I have to admit that I didn’t enter this new chapter of my life without some trepidation. One of my chief concerns was what the future would hold for my sons, one of whom was attending university, and the other of whom would soon be graduating from high school.

The youngest son was accepted to the same university the eldest attends, but he cancelled his enrollment, thinking there would be no funds to pay for his education this year. He decided he’d go to a local community college instead. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing one’s education at a local community college – but what did feel wrong to me was the reason for the choice to cancel the enrollment at the university. The choice had been based on a sense of limitation – a fear of lack – and all summer this fear seemed to permeate the atmosphere in our home.

Weirdly – considering it was my decision to leave my job that was the cause of the fears among my family members – the fear that attached itself to my loved ones almost completely disappeared from my own thoughts within a very short time after making my decision.  My thoughts suddenly open to all the good surrounding me, good began unfolding beautifully in my life. Unexpected opportunities arose for me – wonderful experiences and blessings that I never could have foreseen poured into my life.

But still… I had concerns for my youngest. He took the human steps he needed to take to prepare for the new school year – he visited local community colleges, took placement tests, had his AP test scores sent out – but at one point, about a month ago,  he confided in me that he really wished he was going to the university with his older brother.  There was a feeling of not-quite-right-ness about the direction his life seemed to be going.

What an opportunity for spiritual growth! I had to work on putting aside my own willfulness and fears about my son’s future, and trust that whatever path he took, or direction he went, he would have whatever experiences and supply he needed for his life to unfold in a harmonious and healthy way. I had to remind myself, daily, that good isn’t dependent on some specific form – on some specific school or choice. Good isn’t dependent on money. It’s here and now. And finally I reached a place, in my own thoughts, of acceptance for whatever choice my son made. I let it all go. It was, I realized, his life – and I needed to allow him to have his own life experience without interference from me.

***

Then something really wonderful happened.

A letter came in the mail from the university my son had originally wanted to attend, offering him a sizable chunk in grant monies to attend school there! But he’d already cancelled his enrollment.
Would it be too late for him to re-enroll? My son and I spent the day making phone calls and sending off emails  – emails that bounced back to us, and calls to people who weren’t available.  I began to feel anxious again.

The next morning, needing to find peace about it all, I asked my husband if he would make some calls to the university before he left for work – I needed to get away for a couple hours and take a walk. I told my husband that if he couldn’t get through, I would pick up where he left off after I returned.  He agreed to make the calls, and I took myself to my favorite walking path along the bay and opened my thoughts up to all the good around me.  Sailboats bobbed happily around on the water, dogs played in the waves, the boardwalk was full of smiling faces, and giggling children, and sunshine sparkled down on all. Once again, I acknowledged that good isn’t dependent on some specific form – this school or that school, this job or that job, this locale or that one – good is everywhere, always available, without limitation or boundary. Wherever my son is, good is there. But it also occurred to me that there was absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t be re-admitted to the university – nothing could stand in the way of a right idea. I knew no matter what happened everything would be alright.  In fact, I knew, everything already WAS alright.

When I returned from my walk, my husband told me that he’d called the university, been connected to a woman in the admissions office, and that our son had been re-admitted to the university.

Within the day he was signed up for Orientation, had reserved a dorm room, and was officially enrolled at the university. A week later he and his older brother pulled out of our driveway, the car loaded with books, school supplies, bedding, clothes, and other assorted sundries, heading towards a new year of adventure and learning at the university.

There is no way we could have planned for things to unfold as they did. There is also no way we could have planned things any better if we’d tried. All that was needed from us was the willingness to open our thoughts up to the infinite possibilities and embrace them.

This is the day the Lord hath made;

Be glad, give thanks, rejoice;

Stand in His presence, unafraid,

In praise lift up your voice.

All perfect gifts are from above,

And all our blessings show

The amplitude of God’s dear love

Which every heart may know.

–         L.L.R.