Choosing Acceptance

There are frequent moments in my life these days when my body reminds me that I am getting older—an ache here, a pain there—and I could pretty easily get discouraged about aging. I would love it if my body didn’t succumb to aging. It would be wonderful if I could wake up one morning knowing that my body was not going to get any older or more decrepit! Ah, but we know that is not the case. In fact, aging is inevitable. Nothing much we can do about it except what we know about eating healthy foods and making time for exercise.
In her book, fIRSTLIGHT¸ Sue Monk Kidd talks about when her 30-year-old husband had a routine surgery in which he lost his voice unexpectedly. The damage was permanent. A nerve had been severed during his surgery. She prayed for a year for a miracle, but there was no miracle. In spite of her prayers, his voice did not return. She writes,
Still struggling to accept what happened, I opened the mail one morning to find a letter from a college teacher whom I’d not heard from in eight years. Out fell an orange sticker, as small as a postage stamp. On it was a gull, its wings spread in flight across the sky, and these words, ‘There is a miracle inside you.’
It caused me to remember the lines in the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
The miracle we found was acceptance.
The story is a good reminder for me that no matter what I am struggling with, whether it is aging or something more immediate, accepting what is so is not the same as giving up. It is an act of surrendering my concerns to God. It is an opportunity to live a life of peace rather than a life of resistance.
When there is nothing more we can do and our prayers seem to go unanswered, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of acceptance.
-Barbara Moore

Create in me a clean heart…

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

I was feeling a bit low…well, maybe a lot low. Things were not coming together as I thought they should and my heart was getting heavier and heavier. Let’s face it, I was really discouraged!

OK Lord, I believe I’ve done what I can… the rest is up to You, I surrender it all!

That’s when I got the urge to open my closet. What an overstuffed mess. I started pulling things out; clothes I haven’t worn in this millennium, a box of papers I wrote in college 30+ years ago, bags from conferences I attended, my high school baton! I bagged up 10 garbage bags of clothes that I donated, I purged all those old papers into the recycling bin (but not before I read them…oh, memories); I filled the garbage container with knick-knacks and souvenirs from places I barely remember.

When I was done, not only did I feel lighter, I had a feeling of freedom. I didn’t feel weighted down anymore by things I’ve held on to for way too long. That’s when I was able to acknowledge that, like my closet getting a thorough cleaning, the Holy Spirit is there for me for the asking, to cleanse my heart of the garbage that collects over time only to weigh me down with negative thoughts and miserable feelings.

Thank you Lord for creating in me a clean heart and renewing a right spirit within me!

Paula Gaboury