This is my life so real. I've had the name for this blog for years. Maybe a decade now. I've always known it would somehow be related to my journey with A Course In Miracles. I just wasn't quite sure how it fit. I know this physical world is an illusion, a testament to a belief in separation. So how could it be my life so real when it's not real?
It was something that came up in the Circle of Atonement's recent workshop on prayer that brought things into focus for me. A graphic of a timeline was shared. On top of the timeline were images that depict our physical journey in the world. Events like our birth, growing up, graduation, career, marriage, family, etc...all the way to death.
Below the timeline, were images depicting our spiritual journey - our "real journey" - the journey to God that is taking place as our life, or our physical journey, in the world is playing out. Love expressed, miracles offered, healing shared, joining with others, forgiveness, prayer. Essentially, the journey that plays out underneath all the doings of my life in the world.
This is how I connect with a life so real. Amidst all the minutiae, all the mundane responsibilities, all the tasks on the to-do list, all the things that need to get done for work, and yes, even my struggles with anxiety...all of those things carry the potential to be infused with God's love. It is my choice to make if I want this journey to lead me towards God or away.
Spoiler alert: I'm choosing towards. And it's a choice I have to intentionally make quite often!
Sometimes I make this choice looking back on a situation or event or encounter. Sometimes I make it in the moment. Sometimes I even make it in advance, going into an encounter with the thought already in my mind of making it a holy one, of expressing kindness and love. My anxiety brain really likes to get in the way of that.
So does my task driven brain. A few months ago, I was serving as one of the Deacons on duty (DOD) for Sunday church service. There are a number of things the DOD is responsible for before, during, and after service. One of those tasks is taking count of the number of attendees that morning.
On this Sunday, we were nearing the end of the service when I realized I hadn't done the count yet. As everyone stood for one of the songs, I briskly made my way to the back of the sanctuary with the intention of going up to the balcony in order to get that head count. There was a gentleman sitting back there in a wheelchair, alongside his caregiver. I had never seen him in church before (and I have not seen him since.) As I walked by him, he reached out his hand to me.
As I took his hand in mine, these thoughts started running through my head. I don't have time for this. I need to take a head count. How long do I need to hold his hand before I can get back to what I was doing?!
I was confronted with the choice to hold his hand for a brief moment and get back to my task. Or to hold his hand in true joining. Honestly, it wasn't even a choice. My brother had literally reached out his hand to save me. I stood there and held his hand through the rest of the service. I knew without a doubt that was what I needed to do. Not necessarily for him, but for me. It wasn't an "oh, I'll just be nice and hold his hand." It was an actually feeling that in that moment he was saving me from myself.
I held his hand with presence. With the full understanding that this was a sacred moment of joining. That holding his hand was the most important thing I could be doing. That moment changed me. He offered me a miracle and I made the choice to receive it.
That encounter still sits so powerfully in my memory and in my heart. Nothing else about that service does. Nothing else about the doings of that day does.
As life was playing out, as I was going about the busy doings of my church responsibilities, a brother reached out his hand and returned me to the real journey. He brought me closer to God.
As I type this, I'm sitting here wondering...how many opportunities like this have I missed? How many times have I allowed the minutiae to get in the way of the real journey? How often have I allowed my focus on the world to block my ability to see with Christ's vision? How often do I allow my fears to create a divide between me and my brother?
Too often, I'd say. But I am willing to make a different choice.
"Whenever you are tempted to undertake a foolish journey that would lead away from light, remember what you really want, and say: The Holy Spirit leads me unto Christ, and where else would I go? What need have I but to awake in Him?" (T-13.VIII.5:1-3)