In golf, players who are progressing through the game at a swifter pace will sometimes be allowed to “play through” or pass slower golfers ahead of them on the course.
I’m not a golfer. But I am a deeply spiritual being. So I want to explain what I mean by “playing through” in the context of this blog. Many who seek answers to the deeper questions or who want a religious element in their lives choose to follow spiritual teachings set out by those who came before. That’s their choice, and I respect it. My own spirituality, on the other hand, doesn’t fit any standard formula that I know of. It’s constantly evolving. I learn and grow at my own pace without feeling a need for instruction from books or priests or gurus. I make my own path.
I’m playing through.
This past year has been difficult for me. The personal life I’d so carefully and lovingly built for over 33 years fell irrevocably apart. The first few months after the crash are a blur. Only isolated, disconnected memories from those days linger amid the rubble of the rest of my life. For a while I was a real mess.
Instead of falling back on my faith, though, I pushed it away. I didn’t want to think beyond the next minute. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. I struggled to find reasons to get out of bed in the morning and to cope with the absolute fundamentals. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Sleep. Repeat as necessary. Eat when you’re hungry. Feed the cat. Don’t forget the cat.
Looking back, I don’t think I believed for a minute that any divine being was “punishing me” for anything. However, I do believe things happen for a reason, so apparently something in this painful experience will benefit me in some way I cannot yet fathom. The Messiah’s Handbook in Richard Bach’s Illusions (www.barefootsworld.net/illusions.html) says “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”
Now my somewhat sensible conscious mind says I would never have knowingly chosen to go through this particular dark night of the soul regardless of the rewards. I’m not sure what I did or which turn I took that led me to seek the gifts inherent in this particular set of problems; I’m sure they’ll one day manifest, but at this time I’m in the dark as to their nature.
Nevertheless I have no doubt I brought this on myself. See, I think it works like this. The Divine puts things in your path that you need to learn, or experience, or do. If you ignore the thing or walk around it or put it off, the Divine will whisper in your ear.
Hey … you really should do this thing.
If you still ignore the message, you might — might — get a tap on the shoulder. If even that doesn’t work, you get the clue-by-four. You know, the one that swings in from out of the blue to knock you out of your comfort zone and smack dab into the middle of a major crisis you can no longer ignore. No more chances to wake up gently or make the change slowly. The clue bat just whacks you upside the head and suddenly everything is different. Remember when your mom would threaten to slap you into the middle of next week? Yeah, it’s like that.
Years ago, I saw a greeting card that fits this scenario. On the front was a 3D-ish maze that was so large it completely filled the image and ran off the sides so that you couldn’t see a clear path in any direction. In the center was a little man looking up at the card-holder with an expression of utter bewilderment on his poor face. Inside the card was a very deep, yet simple message.
“Sometimes the only way out is through.”
I’ve thought of that card over and over in the last year, except in my mind’s eye I’m in the middle of the maze. After the initial shock, I spent a lot of time asking myself why — why me, why now, why this way? The answers to such mundane queries are pointless. It did happen. I am where I am. It is what it is. Asking why only left me anguished and frustrated, so I tried to put it out of my mind, suck it up and deal.
I don’t remember what prompted me to do so, but one day I asked those same questions of Spirit. Suddenly, the answers became very relevant. Instead of being a victim, I became a student. I was no longer helpless. I was a scientist, examining a failed experiment with an eye to avoiding the same mistakes in the future. Spirit didn’t show these things to me. She only waited patiently for me to see for myself what had been there all along.
I’m still in the maze. The drama that upset my applecart hasn’t concluded. My road may still be long and full of shadow, but it helps to once again see the spiritual current running through every detail. At least I’m moving forward again. And that can’t be a bad thing.
— Drema Deòraich (from September, 2013)