By: Rev. Gwen Smith
There are many days I wake up and question “is this still happening?” Do I still have to make conscientious decisions whenever I go out? Is the pandemic still a thing? Last week I was out to do some errands and it was the experience of line ups and masks. It was skirting around people when you wanted to go down an aisle and “safely” get by. It was running into a friend and having to resist the impulse to hug them! It was remembering to spray my hands with sanitizer before and after entering a store and my car. And all the time keeping mental track of where I had gone and with whom I engaged with just in case I have to account for my activities if I were to contract the “virus”. Even though I have never lived through the fall out of a war, I have a small sense that this is sometimes like that. We are living in “restricted” times. So, I began to ask, “Is this how it is from now on? Is this our new norm to wear masks and be in lines waiting and distancing?”
And I felt sad. Not depressed, not poor me, not misery, not low; it was sad. Very plainly it was sad! I did not feel it necessary to fix it and quite frankly, I did not know what to do about it so I just let it be. Strangely I was okay with this too. Usually, I would like such a feeling to go away!! Then I saw a post on Facebook regarding sad: “It is an emotional state that manifests itself on the vibrant and lively screen of the Presence. That’s all. It’s not a problem that requires a solution or patch. It is a sacred and precious part of you that craves for love, acceptance, embrace, rest. “- Jeff Foster.
I chose to write this blog on this subject because if I am feeling this, maybe others are too. And sure enough after sharing this quote, others responded and acknowledged it for themselves. Once we remember that feelings are neither good nor bad. That they are helpful for us to recognize what is going on internally and what needs our attention; loving, compassionate attention.
If God is absolute, if Life Itself is ALL THERE IS, then what can Love do? Love being synonymous with God, and we are the Divine, then Love is the warm embrace we give sad when it shows up. And this applies to all our feelings of frustration, anger, depression, worry, doubt, fear. What would Love do? What is our internal barometer of feelings, wanting us to know?
Now I will tell you that it is not to stay there either and pitch a tent or build a condo making it a long-term experience, but in these times of pandemic, losses, daily changes, uncertainty, restrictions, distancing, racial protests, economic troubles, ……..sadness will surely happen to many of us. But we shall not engage in spiritual bypass going around the feeling or to treat/prayer it away. Like Jeff Foster says, “Do not run away from such a precious visitor.” Reverend Barbara’s last blog talked about the inside job and said, “I find the gift and the blessing in it.” I found the gift in sad. For me that day was to recognize that there are changes happening that may be short term or long term, and the gift was be still, be quiet and know. It is Life moving through me and it is okay to be sad; all is well. Really, all is well. And what I realize is that the sadness I felt has given me perspective for all the good in my life. “We exist in Limitless Opportunities, which are forever seeking expression through us.”-Ernest Holmes
I cannot remember such a time in my life that living in the moment served me in such a profound way. Recently I had to wait outside before going into an appointment. It was a hot day and I was drawn to a tree and the shade it provided. As I approached the tree, I was attracted (maybe distracted) by the leaves. The shape of the leaf, the pattern of the veins, the red stem of the leaf all caught my full attention. I was immersed in this leaf. Everything around me blurred. Time became still. Bliss. I heard my name called and came back. How many minutes? I am not sure, though it seemed a long time. Everything appeared brighter. There was more light in everything around me and I felt abundant gratitude like a swelling up within. Having had a visit with sad, I could change my thoughts regarding time spent in a lineup (in a mask!!) to Awe…. I was blessed to enjoy the lineup, the waiting; it was an opportunity to be one with Life. And so it is.