Beyond our ability to cope
The spiritual quest, no matter the path traveled upon is difficult. It is about focus on what is most important in life. So spirituality is in many ways ‘this worldly’. How do we live well, what does that look like, how is it accomplished? Our seeking deeper communion with God is perhaps a call embracing reality at its most basic level. From a place that all humans find themselves, often a place that is not pleasant, often painful, ugly and with no apparent way out…..as one retreatant wisely told me: “We each have a full plate”. Which I believe is true.
The problem with seeking to lead a life that is open to the Spirit is that it can’t compete, at least at the beginning, with the immediate allure of what is simply in front of us. When in pain we seek some form of escape, some pleasure to relieve stress, at times perhaps anything to find some surcease from inner or outer tension and pain. Instant gratification, no matter what one is dealing with in life is seldom helpful and will only put off what must be dealt with.
Healing is often a slow process, calling on deep reservoirs of patience, often stretching us to what can be beyond our ability to cope. It is this situation, which happens after a long period of struggle and even despair, that grace, often not consciously sought after, touches us. Slowly, or for some quickly, depending on need, leading to inner healing and a new fuller life. Though the process is painful and often entails some form of suffering that comes from withdrawal from actions that are self destructive.
Many people equate faith in God, any faith, not just let us say the Christian faith, as some form of escape from reality. When in fact, it leads us to face our situation, to embrace it, and to fight off cynicism and despair, which for many is a long drawn out battle. As well to constantly seek deeper compassion for others and oneself…..perhaps the love of self being the most difficult task of all. Without love of self, it is hard to have loving relationships with others. The life that Jesus calls us to is one of a death to common understandings of what the good life is about. This worldly understanding has some wisdom, but all one has to do is to look at the state of the world to understand that at its root, it is somewhat insane. Religion often falls into this way of thinking. Power, prestige and appearance becoming more important that the message of grace, healing and love.