Midweek Faith Lift
February 23, 2022
Seeing What Is and Laughing Anyway!
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
From Daily Reflection
January 15, 2022
“Things are forever changing and I have found that, in these journeys of transition, when endings are done well, beginnings are more peaceful. CHANGE is actually a beautiful acronym: a Chance to Have A New God Experience.” ~Rebecca Shinas
Affirmative prayer: “Today, I am thankful for the emergence of new God experiences in my life: new encounters, insights, and whole new vistas. I welcome change, and am glad to be on a life-journey of renewal and transformation. My mind is bright, my creative powers are activated, and I am poised for richness. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Today is a celebration and a day of sharing some of my personal reflections on turning 70! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for allowing me this indulgence. My prayer is that there is also something for you in my journey. Seventy! What an incredibly daunting and awe inspiring number….one I can hardly get my mind around, much less my body and spirit! Kind of like the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics:
“Old friends, old friends, Sat on their park bench like bookends….
Can you imagine us years from today, Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be 70…” Yes it is terribly strange….to be 70, on 2-22-22!
I once heard a fellow retreatant at Unity Village say something about the Law of Mind Action that went like this: “It is a case of mind over matter….if you don’t mind, it don’t matter!” I have to confess that I am trying to get there…..but at times it is a stretch! In truth, there are so many parts of me that are sooo much better, so much healthier and wiser than 20 years ago! And after the cataract surgery, my eyes see with the visual clarity and sharpness that I had when I was in my twenties. What I have learned in the 50 years since I was 20 with that clear, sharp vision is that the insight, inner vision grows in direct correlation to the decrease of visual acuity that happens with age.
What I am celebrating today is that I have clarity of vision both within and without! That seems like a miracle, but it has been a long journey, a 50-year journey. My dad used to say, “so soon old, so late smart….”for him it was kind of a refrain of regret. But I have come to see that the kind of “smart” that can be described as wisdom comes in small increments and with time, patience, love and practice. It is not a one and done or a flash in the pan! You may have that huge flash, that awakening, that awareness which is “life changing,” but it takes time for all of you, mind, body and spirit, to learn how to live into that new insight and understanding of what is. Hence my title today, “Seeing what is and laughing anyway!”
It kind of reminds me of the picture we have of Jesus in the Community Room…the Laughing Jesus. We really have NO idea of what Jesus looked like or if he told jokes or teased his friends and loved ones or his disciples, but I sure like to think that he did. Growing up in Catholic school, I NEVER saw a picture or heard the idea of a laughing Jesus. It certainly opened my inner eyes when I started to imagine Jesus that way, Jesus as a guy with a sense of humor. I had lived my life up to about 37 as constant struggle to attain happiness by having children, buying a house, having a career and being a well-respected professional, a beloved wife and mom and a pillar of the community! And then it all went to hell in a hand basket when the bottom dropped out. I discovered that much of what I thought was true and real was not. What an eye-opening and eventually heart-opening transition that was!
That is when I began to discover the truth of the statement by Mr. Rogers:
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Thank you Mr. Rogers for your wisdom! I was there, but it took me awhile to see it! I needed some of that eye opening amazing grace that the song tells us about. There is another quotation by Albert Einstein that also became a part of my journey, albeit unconsciously, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Wow, Einstein, the genius that he was, sees through scientific eyes that everything is a miracle.
When I really began to grasp and live that truth, that it was all a miracle, and that I could live my life from that perspective, things slowly started to change. I started working with the energy of God, of Love, of Self-compassion rather than fighting with or arguing with it. It was a tough sell, believe me! Just ask my sister, daughter and husband who are all here today. Remember, I wanted to be happy, and I thought that “being right” was the only way I could be happy! That crazy idea died hard for sure, but when it did, it opened my life to all kinds of miracles. There is another quotation from Forest Whitaker that really describes this new insight: “Any chance you have to see the world through someone else’s eyes is always a gift. It allows you to live your own life more clearly.”
No one has to be “right”, we’re just kind of all in this together, trying to find our way. A much more skillful way to navigate all that life offers, both desired and undesired is to ask “How does this look to you? What do you see here?” When I started asking that question and then listening, really listening for understanding, then I could really hear what others were saying! And then, miracle follows miracle, I could actually communicate and express more clearly what I was seeing, hearing and feeling! And that really changed things! When I started just asking myself, “what is the next right thing for me to do?” I started really listening to Spirit, to my own heart and taking things in small steps, the only real way change happens for me.
The real impetus for this talk was a book by Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure, which Bridget and Christine gave me for Christmas. It really prompted me to reflect on what I have learned and what of me has changed in my 70 trips around the sun. What I know for sure is that all of life itself is relationship. Even at the smallest nuclear level, the energy that is life is just a positive and negative charge. It is the presence of an observer that causes this energy to shift into matter, either particle or wave. I am NOT a nuclear physicist, but as a metaphysician, this makes perfect sense to me. How is that?
Well it calls into play the notion of Trinity, which Jesus references in his messages that were recorded in Scripture. He frequently speaks of “the Father” and tells his listeners that when they see him, Jesus, the human being, they are also seeing “God” or the “Father.” Jesus was a good Jew and they did not speak aloud the name of God; “Father” was as close as they could get. This was how Jesus illustrated that as a human, the presence of God, “the Father” was also in him and in us. He never described himself as different from us and his mission was to open our eyes to see how we are like him, human and divine.
He also recognized that we would need help to remember what he has taught and he assures his disciples of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John:
25 “I have told you this while I’m still with you. 26 However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.
I find this quite comforting and it helped me realize that I, too, live in relationship within myself, just as we all do. I live within a holy trinity and it looks like this: there is my “human self” that gets angry, self-righteous and wants to have it my way and to be recognized for all my efforts, good deeds and accomplishments. There is my “Christ-self” or higher self, which always calls me to that higher perspective and a path that offers the “highest and best good” for all in each and every circumstance. And then there is my “observer self” that seems to navigate between these to remind me to pay attention to the things that Jesus and all other Wisdom teachers have taught us. It is that self that in times of meditation and quiet speaks to my heart and reminds me of a better way, of the “next right step” and the path of love and peace.
Learning to hold space in my mind and heart for all of my “Holy Trinity” has been my learning curve for the past 50 years or so. This space calls forth gratitude as my first response for whatever challenges show up. This space calls forth faith to navigate these challenges with love, sureness and compassion for myself and others. This space calls forth joy and delight because there is always a divine surprise in how circumstances unfold, even when it takes me a while to get to that mind state. This space allows me to see or hear what is and laugh anyway! A laughing party is far more fun than a pity party, after all!
I want to leave you with words from Oprah Winfrey’s book, What I Know For Sure, on p. 71, she writes:
When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives—when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail boxes are empty—the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.
And so it is and so we let it be….keep laughing!
Blessings on the Path,