I’m not good with The Now. There is too much imperfection and disarray offered in The Now. Due to this, I am always looking for ways to improve what’s before me, mainly because what is behind me wasn’t good enough. Do you see the problem in this? I am the hamster on the wheel; I never tire from going ’round and ’round.
I know — much of this is due to my personality feature of being an Enneagram One, and this all comes as no surprise to me. However, what is always surprising to me is the way in which I am slowly learning to approach The Now.
Let’s first talk about what brought me to this reckoning with The Now. You might think it’s my job loss. Well, yeah, sure – duh. But it’s also where I have been with my head and the heart in the past seven months. Each morning, I have carved out 20-30 minutes to Be. I sit by a window in our apartment and I wait. Sometimes I will read one sentence in Scripture, but mostly, I sit. I am waiting to be searched and for the light to trickle in. There are mornings where it is really hard – I’m distracted or my heart feels disgruntled.
But I still show up.
I won’t go into the details of the job loss, as I might find myself in the crumbly mess of my perfectionism again. I’ll instead talk about how I’m learning what seasons of trust have meant to me before this all happened. The last time I was without a job, I read a lot of books I didn’t pay for at a bookstore (note: not a library and I only stole in the theoretical sense). But, oh, a holy trust formed new depths. That aside, I wanted to share what these past seven months of contemplation/meditation/prayer meant to me and how they have played an integral role in my life. Specifically, In The Now.
“Our first forgiveness is not toward a particular sin or offense. Our first forgiveness, it seems to me, is toward reality itself: to forgive it for being so broken, a mixture of good and bad.”
Richard Rohr wrote the above statement. (He, too, is an Enneagram One so I trust his wisdom on a whole other level.) What he is saying here has given me such a different perspective on The Now. To forgive The Now for its brokenness … and to embrace both the good and the bad. Is it not strange to think about forgiving something that just is? Like Florida humidity or ten thousand spoons when all you need was a knife (I’m hilarious.)?
Maybe that is the secret to this script of life, though. There are so many things written and unwritten; so much to be predicated, but so much more unpredicted. And, maybe, to forgive is to acknowledge that embracing the good and bad. It is holding each in the palm of my hands to see them coexist. While painful it is possible. I know this.
When I first began the spiritual disciplines of meditation, contemplation, and prayer I didn’t think I was great at it. However, I kept finding myself waking up every morning to go to that little nook in my apartment. What I truly did not recognize was the silent process of what the Spirit was doing within me as I woke up and sat. About four months later, something happened. What I had been so bitter about for so long was no longer there. It was gone. There were no external changes to the situation. There was just me sitting by a window in the morning. I feel so tender at the thought of it. A truer and mightier shift in perspective grew within me that is beyond explanation.
I learned how God is in all and is for all. And I learned how to unravel reality with all its black and white curtains. In fact, I learned how to tear down the curtains.
“Old hurts linger long in our memories and are hard to let go. We must each learn how to define ourselves by the present moment—which is all we really have. I will not define myself by what went wrong yesterday when I can draw upon Life and Love right now. Life and Love are what’s real. This Infinite Love is both in us and yet it is more than us.”
So, my job loss. Lord, my ego feels tingly when I say it. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know how long I will be without a job. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel robbed and wronged of yesterday or all the days following. That won’t get me anywhere, though. I acknowledge that. What I can do is sit in The Now. There is only so much that I can control, and there is a small, growing sense of gratefulness for that. I will learn to forgive what is behind and what is before me, and I will walk through the path that was once covered by two easily predictable curtains.
I will embrace the pain and the good of this situation … and I know it will all be OK.