‘We cannot control our life.’
Try letting that truth sink in. Let it sink into your mind and then deeper into your heart, even into your body where you carry those hidden knots of stress.
Sister Wendy Beckett begins her ‘Art in Lent’ reflections with that statement. Of course, I know that is true. Of course. Really? I might think I know it’s true, but living within its reality is very different.
She invited me to begin Lent with Hokusai’s painting ‘The Great Wave’. It’s so beautiful, yet so unsettling. That huge wave, the great wave that rises ready to engulf the tiny boats with even tinier people. Sometimes life erupts with a rogue wave. Something hits us that we hadn’t anticipated, hadn’t planned for, have no experience with….I bet you know some of those moments.
Right now I’m feeling the effects of a rogue wave within our family for one of our members is ill with a chronic debilitating condition and I can’t control it. I can’t fix it, or the person with it or the system around them. I don’t have any control. Well not quite. I do have control over how I will respond to it. I can go head long into it, or broadside or tack looking for the slowest spot. Perhaps I need a bit of all of that. I can be headlong with my own feelings, not avoiding them but allowing them to wash over me and through me. I can come alongside the feelings of others and be present with them letting them soak me. I can also keep myself flexible, adjusting to the daily fluctuations.
I’m not in charge of the drama on earth or within my family or my own life. There’s a popular saying on the ‘wet’ coast – there is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choices. Ah yes. I’m able to make choices. Even, or especially when the rogue wave rises, I need to be flexible and make choices. Sometimes that’s easier to write about than live, but often the writing helps me live closer to the truth I know.
So begins this year’s wilderness walk during Lent. I’m feeling soaked through with the unexpected.
Love and prayers as we walk this uncontrollable journey
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Companion on the Rivendell Way
Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living