Sam, my daughter, my LoveBug about to turn 5, has been fighting high fever and Flu B this week. This is just another in a long line of sick since New Years, seems the case for most folks we know, this season being a tough one, and boy we're sick of sick. We've had to put a lot of activities on hold and just when we think we can get back to something, some other sick strikes.
It's a gloomish day, has sure felt like a gloomish week; I could use a soul stir. A sunbeam. Even a spider.
When you reach for inspiration, what do you reach for? Probably not the eight-legged.
A verse? Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." A mantra? Perhaps, "I flow with the river of Life; I accept change, I accept death, I accept renewal." Buddha? “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
What do you think about? How are you feeling? What fuels your dreams? What gives your soul a stir? That thing you do or read or see or hear that instantly tugs at you from somewhere waaaay back within that is suddenly on the tippy-top of your heart beating a loud, YES, THIS!
God gives us the passions that inform our purpose. When you feel those tugs, jolts, zings, beats - pay attention.
What was it that hung above Neo's head in the doorway? The Latin aphorism - Temet nosce. Students of the environment recognize the Swedish born 'father of modern taxonomy' by his Latin name, Carl Linnaeus. In his first edition of Systema Naturae, he described human beings as nosce te ipsum. Both phrases mean 'Know Thyself.'
That resonates on one of my frequencies of inspiration, therapy. I'm entering my eighth year and it's not a process that can be easily summed up. It is integral to my faith and function for my finite time here. Through it's unfolding, I've become closer to God, to my family and in embracing my purpose. Entrenched in those years of living with arresting chronic pain and the often just-as-debilitating secondary depression that accompanies, combined with unchecked anxiety from a diagnosis when I was 16, therapy was an initial source of sorting the hows-to-deal.
Metamorphosis cannot be undone. One can never return to the state they were before they now know what they have come to understand. Follow? Eyes that open a bit, then a bit more, then even more cannot be closed again. A soul cannot unsee. The butterfly cannot return to the caterpillar state. But she can be afraid to use her wings.
As I've journeyed in and out of darkness towards blinding light, I've become an awe-struck student of our humanity. In searching to know myself, to live authentically and in full presence, I have discovered we are peoples far, far more similar than different. It's changed how I love others. It's altered my posture of patience. It’s created a posture of peace.
I no longer clench and seethe angry hot coals. I was so angry. SO ANGRY. It's changed how I love myself. It influences how I am attempting to live as Christ commanded in His second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. I really love folks. I've grown greater capacity for compassion and empathy because I see the human condition isn't something just some of us wear a little rough. That only some of us struggle to navigate.
We all wear the same clothes of fear and arrest and avoidance and pattern and defense and struggle and insecurity and desire and dream and hope and longing for acceptance.
We are all a people of need. Knowing that I am on a journey and so is everyone else has amplified my ability and desire to accept others exactly as they are. Where they are. Who knows what awaits them on their journey, what they are in the midst of working through or learning about. Friends. Enemies. Neighbors. Strangers. And God bless them for trying.
In an instant, we judge the veneer. Knowing myself constantly reminds me just how much of folks I'm not seeing and to suspend my judgment. It makes me want to puke rainbows of love onto everyone. It's a bit gross actually.
I see us all in our journey as this noiseless patient spider Walt Whitman so beautifully captured as the metaphor for our soul and connections we long to make. Sometimes when the journey feels especially boggy, I come back to this little spider and I remember we are all trying our best to make it, to find it, to be it, to bend and not break, to be connected in this together in our needs.
Maybe a spider can inspire you today.
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.