Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Nows

Dear Reader: This is a post that started in the summer and finished as leaves cling to the branches left behind, holding out until the winter wind finally gets her way.

This morning I was treated to a slightly bigger view of the prairie sky, thanks to a wind storm that rushed our yard last night, stripping away huge branches from several trees.

Trees are a premium out here. Every little stick that has the courage to rise from the earth is treated like the Mother Vine, coaxed and nurtured until it can officially be deemed a seedling.

The thing about the random storm is it that I had some dear friends coming to my house Sunday morning – and I wanted everything to be perfect. I had spent a few hours setting out lawn furniture, working in the flower beds, cleaning up the yard, getting it just right. Ten hours later I watched the deck furniture crash to the ground, rocking chairs blow away and most painful of all, our old faithful redbud tree split into three pieces.

I know in the scheme of life, this is a very small thing. But it brought to mind how attached our human brains are to how we think things should be – we cling to our ideas of normal, what we think we deserve (both good and bad) and subscribe to some grand idea of how our lives will unfold .. . only to be dismayed to learn, as Judith Lasater so aptly puts it, we do not get to be the “general contractor for the Universe. ”

It begs the question; when we are all about the ending, are we oblivious to the good stuff served up in the middle? How many times do we not even try because we are afraid it won’t turn out how we want?

On my office bulletin board, I have a cut out of a sparkling celestial creature with the words “Breath, Believe and Receive, everything is unfolding as it should” written across her heart. I think those are the very words our heart speaks to us – sometimes it’s just hard to hear over the din of a world spinning slightly out of control.

We expect our lives to play out to a soundtrack of a familiar song– only to be surprised to learn the rhythm is more like an experimental jazz piece led by a maestro with a slightly warped sense of irony.

Should we aspire to bring great things to the world, have goals and dreams? Absolutely. What is life without intention? The bone jarring pothole is the attachment to the outcome, the judgment we place on this very moment left tenderly in a basket on the front porch of our soul.

Oh, how we would write the book if only someone would hand us the sacred pen.

Even though it is uncomfortable at best and painful at worst, there is clarity hiding in the chaos and truth found in being cracked open - maybe not so much enlightenment hiding in a well-manicured lawn with the bird feeders hung just right.

A Wisdom much greater than we can imagine decided we don’t just get to receive what we deem to be the “good” stuff. . .maybe because our human brains can’t truly comprehend the unlimited supply of good stuff waiting unexpected in the wings.

Instead, we are given the Holy opportunity to breathe it all in – letting the unfolding unfold us, letting the falling branches make us whole.

Maybe someday we can found our way to rejoice in the fact there are no guaranteed happy endings, only happy nows.