There are times along our path to awaken, when Spirit gets our attention in the most inventive ways. The ego may be clever but the Spirit does its crafting with Grace.
Having invited Grace to Guide my life (formally, with a written prayer even) at a time that seems like ages ago, when I was brought to my knees and I knew for sure, that the only way out was surrender. Since then, I’ve had my share of experiences (as I’m sure have you) big and small, mundane and profound, where the hand of the Divine was apparent. Grace was in the details and the broad strokes. I couldn’t help but notice.
The two most recent examples of this Divine intervention in my life came in the form of my car breaking down at a diner and me breaking down at home. Either way, the last few weeks have been a crash course in contrast. Each incident gave me an experience of the difference between my choice for suffering or peace, and showed me – beyond a shadow of a doubt – how quickly I can go from one to the other.
One day my car battery died after I stopped for breakfast at my favorite diner, one bitter cold morning after leaving a girlfriend’s house. I sat waiting in my car for what seemed like an hour, until at least one of the cars parked on either side of me moved, so someone with jumper cables (if I found anyone) could jump start my battery.
This was my predicament as I sat freezing, banging my hands in frustration on the steering wheel, and beating myself up for stopping for breakfast when I knew my battery was iffy and I clearly had the thought to go straight home, but didn’t listen. But then I paused, took a breathe and remembered I had a choice. I could resist what was happening and continue to be upset at myself and the situation, or I could relax and trust it would all work out.
The moment I stopped resisting what was happening, the car parked next to me moved, someone on the diner’s kitchen staff showed up with jumper cables – though my car didn’t start after many almosts – but I was given a ride up the street to a service station that replaced my battery (at a great price in record time) while I was entertained by a friend with an exchange of flirty text messages.
Turns out, if I had driven home, not only would it have been likely that the car wouldn’t have started up again (thereby needing to call a tow truck) but I would have almost certainly done damage to my car as well…showing me quite clearly how I had judged the experience of my battery dying at the diner (ha ha, sounds like a murder episode) as bad, inconvenient, and irresponsible, when in fact, it was a graceful, well orchestrated detour. In the process, I was shown that Spirit truly has my back and I cannot judge anything because….
I don’t know what anything is for.
But the fireworks came one night a few weeks later when I was relaxing at home reading, when almost out of nowhere, a thought of fear seeped into my consciousness, expanded and gained a hold of me, sending me into a tailspin. It wasn’t until I was in the thick of things, lost in ego thought, mild panic running through my body, forcing me to lie down…that I remembered I was getting exactly what I asked for. That thought…”oh wow, I’m getting exactly what I asked for.” was enough to stop the panic in an instant.
In that moment I knew I wasn’t alone. I remembered that earlier that day, I specifically asked Jesus (but it can be whoever your guide is) to show me everything that stood in the way of my being in peace and happiness and fully available to Him. I wanted these barriers out of the way! I wanted me out of the way.
I wanted all the ways I judge things – myself especially; all the ways I doubt myself but don’t trust Him; all the things I feel guilty about; all the concepts, ideas, beliefs I hold as true without question – all of that out. I was simply tired of having this garbage in my mind.
It wasn’t the first time I looked inside the trash heap, as I’m sure it’s not your first time. I’ve looked at my misguided mistakes for years and I was frankly tired of playing in the place they led me to; I was tired of being lured back to this idol infested territory with false promises of happiness down a dead end road. I wanted off that road, out of the self made, dressed up prison we all get trapped in without even knowing it.
When the anxiety subsided, I rested a while, comforted by the thought that I wasn’t having a nervous breakdown, but getting what I asked for. But before I could get comfortable, another wave of ego attacks began. Thoughts of unworthiness, disappointments, failures, lost opportunities and on and on were making their way through my consciousness which I could then see, in my mind’s eye, as a steady winding stream of grey matter coming out of my body and out the wide glass doors to the side of my bed, headed towards the brightest full moon high in the night sky. Wow!
You just can’t make this stuff up! Back and forth I went for what seemed like hours, from excruciating pain to periods of rest and relief- like giving birth. As some point I felt myself lean back, seemingly weightless, into an embrace like no other and there I rested. Exhausted I finally fell asleep.
The contrasts continued over the next few weeks, though not quite so dramatically. It seems there’s always more clutter than we think – which, incidentally is why de-cluttering is such a good thing for anything! But of course that’s a judgement right there. But it works for me when inspired to do so…and then there’s nothing like a bit of housekeeping therapy to set things right again. It can be that simple when Spirit has the soapy sponge.
I felt unspeakable gratitude as I realized that not only was I being put through the wash cycle as I had asked, and being prepared for a purity I already was but didn’t quite believe…but I was being shown – quite literally – experiences of how the Spirit has my back and what it felt like to rest perfectly safe in it’s fold that’s always just a moment away, accessible, anytime, anywhere by anyone. It’s always there – ready and waiting whenever we want to lean back and rest.
And now…I’d love to hear from you. Does this resonate?
Where have you felt the hand of the Divine at work in your life?