There are people who test my abilities to remain positive while also creating an Atlas-like struggle to acknowledge their contributions without the filter of exasperation due to the extra work they create.
Today, following an effort that seemed to bring me to a new place, I found myself abandoned and used, filled with resentment and bitterness. I reached my precipice and angerly watched as my ‘rock’ slid behind and away – Atlas my friend – frustrated, I asked,
“What more can I do?”
I retreated and found a solution in Psalms 56:4 (verse of the day on Bible app).
“In God, whose word I praise —
In God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
I realized that this person did nothing to me. I let circumstance and my perceptions, real or not, infect me and who controlled my emotions and character. I quickly grabbed my ‘rock’ and found the burden of this mortal to be light.
Following the celebratory offerings of the holidays, the habitual seems muted and dull. I am beginning to appreciate these ordinary days filled with opportunities to deepen faith and practice behaviors that come easily during the holidays.
There is the chance for newness in every waking morning.
There is an opportunity for peace while navigating the crush of traffic, tasks, and people.
Every interaction has the potential to ease someone else’s suffering.
In moments of worry or strife, there is an option to trust and acquiesce, allowing for grace.
My true nature is revealed in the routine of these ordinary days.
The Book of Joy is a discussion between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama on what creates joy. How do we obtain and keep joy while enveloped by a “me, me, me” world? Beyond being spiritual leaders, both men share personal suffering experienced on a global scale (apartheid in South Africa and Chinese occupation/exile of Tibet).
Their stories and many others illustrate joy being obtained through forgiveness, compassion, and generosity. Offering concepts of joy from both a religious perspective and a secular, more human interpretation, the dialogue is complimentary yet stark. It matters not what religion or spirituality governs one’s actions, to both men, and the science provided, humans are innately generous and compassionate when the material, the competitiveness, and the fear of this world is overcome.
“People are seeking joy in the wrong places.”
They are generous in their estimation of today’s world, more so than I, but I am just discovering the power of letting go of self and seeing outwards. Experiencing the respect and kindness between the other’s words illustrates that a world connected by a universal desire to heal can overcome many obstacles.
It is a grand book to mark a new year and a new way of looking at our place and purpose in the world.
I know the moment I become a verb, Mr. Controlly Pants, and it usually finds me seething over the vast incorrectness of my opponent and plotting for dominion over my kingdom. This I know to be wrong and ineffective. I drive myself crazy and ultimately show little respect for the other person.
If I am to live as God would have me live, I must escape my self-centeredness. Today I acknowledged someone’s effort without judgment then contributed to making a better experience for all – not controlling a thing – and leaving two people better partners than when we last spoke.