I had a routine check-up with my doctor the other day. Despite the fact that the clinic was relatively small, there were a number of doors off the corridors and I was grateful to an attendant for pointing the way out. There's a quiet comfort when someone shows you where to go. The chain of grocery stores where we shop (Publix) is a good example. Often when we ask an employee where a product is, they won't just point to the pasta or paprika section but insist on walking you into that aisle; and many don't leave until you have found the item and might even add, "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
During my college years, I was part of a band for the performance of Godspell. In the musical, a beautiful if haunting song called "By My Side" has the following lyrics:
Where are you going? Where are you going? Can you take me with you? For my hand is cold And needs warmth Where are you going? Far beyond where the horizon lies Where the horizon lies And the land sinks into mellow blueness Oh please, take me with you.
And yet, I think of George Bernard Shaw's quote: "To be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer."
To any who feel as if you've been adrift for a year, we feel you! It's challenging, if not difficult, to live the way you want when conditions restrict travel, when love means avoiding signs of affection and caution entails avoiding large crowds. We want to steer! Especially as Americans, freedom feels so fake right now. This is my life, right?!
And then I think of the amazing, liberating world of our interior lives. In the deepest, calmest pool of our God-drenched souls there is no struggle, no restriction, nothing conditional.
Perhaps the real issue in life is navigation. If your car would only make right-hand turns, would you say that it is free? If it ran around bumping into telephone poles and stop signs, denting fenders and wasting gas, would you ignore it and say, “That’s the automotive nature. That’s my car’s mode of self-expression”? It would take you a long time to get anywhere, and where you arrived would not be up to you. To get to the clinic for my checkup the other day, I drove two miles and made about 7 turns. If I had a car that did not obey me, I might have ended up in Clearwater Beach- not a bad place to be, but not where I needed to go. It is tragic, but many people's lives are like that. Just your reading this now tells me something about you- that you want to steer, to be doing and thinking and saying the things that truly represent the best of you. Isn't that right? If it is, slow down. Begin a practice of starting your day with just 5 minutes of meditation. If that scares you, take heart and read what Alice has put together to help anyone. You can find it here: Meditation.