For the past week or so, I have been consistently trying to keep from striving. By that I mean that I have not been seeking things out – activities, jobs, writing projects; instead, I have been sitting to see what God and life bring to me.
Honestly, this is hard for me – I am not very good at waiting. I like to “make things happen” as they say, and I also struggle with my feelings of passivity – I don’t want to seem apathetic or lazy, and I certainly don’t want to sit in inaction when I should act. I always think of the bystander effect and urge myself to act instead of watching bad things happen. I think most of the time that impulse is right – I should act in crisis. But sometimes I think I act just to be active, not because it’s the right thing to do or because I’m the right person to do it.
So this past week, I went through my week doing what needed to be done, but not trying too hard. It was amazing to see what invitations came my way, even from myself. First, I had two job opportunities literally land in my inbox, both of which I’m actively pursuing now. Secondly, two friends called me to make plans – one for a movie and one for a hike. Then, a person came into the picture of my life in ways that I had never imagined would happen so quickly. Finally, a dear woman offered me dishes, part of her own personal collection, when I simply said that I had been looking for some. What a gift.
As I moved through my days slowly, deliberately, listening to what I wanted and what was available to me without much effort, I found my spirit inviting me to things – like an hour on my deck with a great book, like the desire to clean out spaces and make my house more of my space. I even went to a second movie last week, on my own (Angels and Demons was actually quite fun and entertaining – and Ewan MacGregor, well, you know). Saturday I felt like I wanted to invite a good friend over, and I cooked for her. We talked and ate and talked, and then she broadened my horizons by introducing me to that great film classic My Cousin Vinny (wow – Marisa Tomei). The week was beautiful.
Here, in the wee moments of this insight, I find myself able to be content with the path of life as it comes under my feet. I have always wanted to look ahead, to anticipate. But I have also found that my vision too far ahead was blurry and out of focus or just out of sight, over the next hill maybe but not able to be seen. So I am learning to be content step by step. As Scripture says, “Thy Word [meaning I think not only the Bible but God’s words in my life] is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Lamps don’t cast bright light that illuminates the path for miles; they simply show you the next few steps into the darkness. I’m learning that this is enough.
Perhaps it is enough because I dream ahead into the future laid out for me. I know it is there along the path – my farm, my writing, my relationships, even my alpaca – but I must come to it via the path given to me. No shortcuts allowed, and that’s okay.
– Garden Path of Glowing Bouquets (Burning Man 2003)