May 15 - Trusting Life's Wisdom

What do you do when life is not going the way you would have designed it? What do you tell yourself when the outcome to which you are attached doesn’t look like it is going to happen? What would you need to see or hear to start trusting in the Wisdom of Life?

One of the upsides of being born in 1943 is that I can no longer find a way not to trust life. So often it is just in retrospect that we are able to see the larger plan that has been playing out, but there is a way to begin to trust the situation when we are right in the middle of it.

All we have to do is to remind ourselves.

“Of what?” you might ask.

“Of everything,” I would say.

What I mean by that is that if you look closely enough, you will see the rhythm of life in everything around you. The sun goes down, and it comes back up again in the morning. We trust that will happen.The tides go out, and they come back in again. We trust that will happen. The leaves fall off of the trees, and they grow back again in the spring. We trust that will happen.

If we need to sell our house and we haven’t had a nibble, we need to remind ourselves of the Wisdom of Life. We need to trust that will happen... when it is supposed to. Just as we cannot see the forces at work that bring the leaves back onto a bare tree, nor can we speed up the process, we cannot see the forces at work in the real estate market, nor can we speed up the process.

I remember one time when we were desperate to sell our home. We had overextended ourselves with a swing loan to buy the house of our dreams before we had sold the other one. A buyer came and made us a very low-ball offer. He also demanded that we sell the house furnished and that we throw in our boat as well. Because we were eager to pay off the swing loan, we reluctantly accepted his offer. A few days before the scheduled closing, the offer fell through...his credit turned out to be terrible. We were heartbroken.

“Oh, no,” I said to my husband, “we are in such trouble. We will never sell this house.”

He said back to me, “Oh, honey, all we know is that the white horse (see January 26th hors-d’oeuvre) is gone...we need to wait for more information.”

Well, two days later, a couple offered us a whole lot more money for the house, and they didn’t even want the furniture or the boat!

I have been blessed to have experienced many situations similar to this. When my husband was downsized after thirty years with one major corporation at age 55, he thought his career days were over. Yet after processing his disappointment and feelings of betrayal, he found a new career that increased his income by literally 300 percent!

In 1979 when I finally broke through the denial and was able to see that I had inherited the disease of alcoholism from my father, I thought my life was ruined and no one would ever want to associate with me again. Instead now some of my greatest joys are when I share that part of my life with others, and it seems to give them hope as well.

Trusting life is often like trying to trust a parent when we are children. When I used to want to run across the street without looking, my mother would hold my hand and restrain me. At the time I could not see the wisdom in that at all…in fact, I would often respond with anger. It is only in retrospect I can see how my mother was truly taking care of me.

And then there are all of the situations where we never see what might have happened...such as the times we are the first to get stopped at a red light and as a result may avoid an automobile accident around the corner. Or we arrive at a store ready to make a purchase only to find that the last one has already been sold...perhaps we were supposed to save the money, or the purchase would have disappointed us in the long run.

How can we be in the darkest moments of our lives and remember that spring will come, the tides will return, and the sun will come up tomorrow? It is all in trusting that it will happen. It is all in remembering it all.

What do you think when life seems to be writing a story with a different ending from the one you desire? Can you trust in Wisdom greater than your own? Can you remember all of the times when the rhythm of life seemed so perfect in retrospect? Can you remember this when you are in a moment where you cannot yet see the ending? Will you find a way to trust the wisdom of life’s plan?

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