We all have times in our lives when we feel as though the flood waters of trouble are pouring into our lives, threatening to drown us. ‘Ever feel like this? With things the way they are, and suicide ever on the rise, I suspect that this issue might just be epidemic. If you are under the age of 1, you hopefully haven’t experienced this, but you are part of the only demographic that, on the whole, has not, of this I am sure. What to do?
What do you do when actual flood waters rush in? Go for higher ground, right? Well, when it’s trouble that looms in your life, not a storm surge, the best advice I know of is the same; go to Higher Ground. Now, when you are in the middle of a tough situation, probably the very last thing you feel like doing is accessing your spiritual high ground. Me, I always wanted to blame other people, moan, curse, and cry about it. Going to The Source was, for me, just not do-able. So for years I just let the tide tumble me and bash me against the reefs as it carried me along, til it finally dried up and land reappeared. This took me way off course. When my most recent and pressing life challenge grew and grew until I could no longer ignore it, I decided to take a different tack. I decided to use my safety equipment!
What a no-brainer, you might be thinking, but we so often don’t even see what we are doing as clearly as others see it. We get caught up, blinded. Our instinct to save ourselves from drowning kicks in, if we are lucky, but it might look like blaming, cursing, and/or crying. When someone gets too far down, so far that all they want is to be out of pain, suicide may be right around the corner. Since, as my late mentor, Rev Marian Starnes used to say, “You couldn’t die if you wanted to!” we don’t even really die, because we are spiritual beings having that physical experience. We move on, only without the bodies to which we are accustomed. There is a better way. There are life preservers! God did not send us on this Journey across the dark seas without any!
The first one is gratitude. If we can only we muster some up, we are well on our way to safety. Gratitude? Gratitude? You say? This feels counter-intuitive at first because we have become stuck in our stuff. Even if you have to get real, real simple with it, just do it. Find some gratitude! Identify something good and tell Source thank You. Keep at it. Make a gratitude list. I keep mine in a Dollar Store notebook and write a list each morning. Seeing it written down makes it more real. If you do it, soon you will feel better. Trust me. I know. I heard about a young man who was struggling with addiction who was instructed by his sponsor to cover the inside of his front door with butcher paper and write one thing for which he was grateful each day. That way he would see it on his way out into the world. He gradually filled it and stayed clean.
The next life preserver is trust in God, our Source. Many of us have trust issues with those individuals we can see, and to trust Someone invisible? If this is really hard for you, like it was for me, and still is at times, try this. Think carefully back over your life and identify incidents that could have turned out really bad…and didn’t. Recall the many things that even turned out unexpectedly great. Do you get the idea? We all have reasons to trust our Creator, we just have to identify them because we either forget them or never realized at the time that they were not of this world. One time when I was riding my barrel horse in a big arena to practice the arena race, she stopped with the agility of a reining horse and I did not. I was so about to eat dirt! But at the very last minute before my butt became airborne, I felt a hand grip my foot and gently tug it back down all the way back into the stirrup. I settled easily back into the saddle and rode on. Good riding? Nope. I felt a hand! Tell me that wasn’t Divine! I am sure that stories like this are actually rather common because there is a Force of Good and it is powerful to help us out. If you don’t like that word, God, if it spooks you (because humans so often have used it to wield power and cause separation), just call that Force “Good”. Samey same. No need to get hung up on the word for that which is infinite and actually, un-nameable.
Despite the dams we erect in our hearts and minds, sooner or later, there is gonna be a flood. It doesn’t have to sweep your life away. Remember that Spirit doesn’t do things to you, It does things for you, very hard to see when you are in the middle of a hot mess, I know. That is why we need to seek that Higher Ground, so that we can see this from this vantage point, high above the drama and the pain of living. You sure don’t have to look far, because this Higher Ground is within you, me, all of us. It is the Christ Spirit, that Love for life and people you feel when you let yourself, that peace we all have touched on perhaps only for a moment, even if we can’t always feel it at will. The Christ Spirit is the spark of Divinity that lives in every form of life. When we make conscious contact with it, everything can change in the space of a breath, so please, never give up. In order to be completely whole, this world needs you. The best is always yet to come when we look up.
There is a sailing expression “Look aloft”. It is a little reminder, before taking off in your boat, to look up toward the top of the mast. The first time I was allowed by my instructor to take a boat out alone, I was so excited that I forgot to do that. I had checked everything else and thought I was ready to go, but the one thing I did not do was look aloft. When the boat went round and round in tight circles instead of going nicely forward, I chanced to look up. Likely, I was praying to the Heavens! When I did, I discovered that there was a gap of about 2 feet between the top of the sail and the top of the mast! All I could do was go in circles! When we forget to look aloft, that is what we do, we go around in circles. Nothing bad happened to my little boat, even as it was spinning round in circles, but when this happens in our lives it can cause that enemy of all life, desperation, to take the helm and wreck us on the hidden rocks of life. All I had to do, once I discovered my main sail was not all the way up was to simply raise it. These tools can help you raise your sails, your heart, and your spirit, up to where it needs to be. So look aloft, and sail on, my friends.
“…for I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”