When life, or the world, gets crazy, what keeps you centered, hopeful, and Loving? I could be wrong, but it seems to me we’re like satellites, and without something Big, Bold, Beautiful, and Beyond our small selves to orbit around, we go careening off into space or crash into the ground like a satellite that’s lost its path. With “everything” going on, I have a hunch that more than ever it’s vital to return to our Source of solace, optimism, and vitality. With that in mind, today I’m going to share some thoughts on the subject, as well as what fills me, connects me to goodness, and links me to all beings.
At the risk of mixing too many metaphors 🙂 let me put the topic a couple of different ways. If life is a dance and our stories are the rhythm, what’s your bass note? What great story guides, energizes, and grounds your life?
For me, it’s Christ, but before I dive in, allow me to pause and say: I recognize that for some Christianity, and thus Christ, has baggage and at least some negative connotations. While finding meaning and purpose in Something Bigger than us is the beautiful side of the coin, the flip side can be brutal, as we all too often use that same unifying force to justify bossing, bullying, shaming, and even harming or killing others! With that in mind, I invite you to receive my musings and experiences on Christ with an open mind and the possibility that “Christ” is the name I use for something you refer to with a different word.
The Christ I orbit around is the Divine energy creating, inhabiting, connecting, designing, nourishing, and embracing us all, who manifested as a singular person in the form of Jesus. The three biggest ways I meet and experience Christ on the daily can be summed up as Life, Light, and Love. Life, as in living in heaven on earth. Light, as in the revealing and healing energy that transforms darkness and death (in all their forms) into life. Love, as in giving all forms of goodness away free of charge. The vision and experience of flourishing, togetherness, wholeness, wellness, and collective celebration I receive from the Christ can only be summed up as a WOW, which leads to a YES from me!
For me, living to the rhythm of Christ means realizing, relaxing into, and enjoying the Truths that: (1) Spirit is especially fond of me. (2) Divine goodness is at the center of every single being. (3) While not everything in life is beneficial, God specializes in turning the bad into blessings; for instance, two gut-wrenching divorces, a hiking accident that should have killed me, 6 months in hospitals, and losing my air force career as a result have truly been the things that have most changed my life for the better. (4) Reality is relational through and through. (5) Generosity and giving are key notes in the rhythm of reality. (6) Love is the law of life.
An aspect of joining Christ’s story I find especially potent is it gives pain and suffering meaning. When things fall apart, when our hearts are broken, when our spirits grow weary, or when the problem seems too big, it is easy to despair and become hopeless. This is in no small part, because, as Richard Rohr says: “The ego demands successes to survive; the soul needs only meaning to thrive.” While Christ being killed on a cross was the ultimate sign of failure to the ego, it was a dramatic symbol of success to the soul, in that it shows us death and resurrection is the drumbeat of life, and Love that freely gives of one self for the benefit of others is one of reality’s bass notes.
First the falling, then the rising. Spring always follows winter. The sun will shine after the storm. The Christ story says death, in all its forms, does NOT win! As I alluded to earlier, literally every death in my life I can think of, from almost literally dying, to an unkind word to my wife, to not being able to drive, to a miscarriage, to failing to become a pastor (after 4 years of school for it), to a poor performance at work, to waking up to my white privilege, to my divorces, have ALL been transformed from griefs into gifts. As much as I would never wish my suffering and losses on anyone else, I will say having gone through their fires and emerging, like a phoenix, on the other side, more vibrant, joyous, and alive than ever before, gives me great hope and optimism for all of our future. And it’s not an idealistic, cloud in the sky positivity, but a hard won and realistic one.
I share my journey because while science, logic, rationality, and a materialistic view of life have their benefits, it seems to me they lack in purpose, meaning, and hope. We have to get those from elsewhere. What’s more, we’re storied creatures, which means, in a real way, the better our big picture story is, the better our life gets! The more the narrative that guides us makes sense of our experiences, inspires us, and moves us to greater aliveness, togetherness, wellness, kindness, and compassion, the more hope becomes reality, peace becomes permanent, goodness abounds, flourishing is amplified, and Love flows. The more beautiful the story, the more amazing one’s life and the world become.
What brings you solace at a deep level? What keeps your chin up during life’s storms? What inspires you to give and grow? What heals your heart? What nourishes your soul and transforms your spirit? What Love holds you safely and securely? What Beauty enraptures you with awe? I pray this has blessed you, would love to hear your thoughts, and hope you have a beautiful day!
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