Saturday, July 24, 2010

Uncertainty & Absolute Assurances.

I mentioned a while ago here I was reading The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Edward Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham.  It's one of those books I started months ago, got twenty pages in, and set down.  Well, I brought it to Switzerland hoping to get a little more into it...

And, I'm again going to talk about Edward Abbey, as there is something deliciously linked to this book about Spirituality and Mr. Abbey's reverence and adoration for the wilderness and desert.  I find I am reading them both equally and loving them both!  It's a treat!!

I wanted to share this quote from The Spirituality of Imperfection.  I've read it over and over today and it's sitting well with where I currently am.
But if spirituality begins as a cry for help, it becomes a way of living with--of putting up with--our human imperfection.  The saints and sages insist that imperfections be accepted as imperfections because such acceptance is necessary if we are to develop a vision of life and a way of living in which those imperfections can be endured and lived with creatively.  And so the 'second step' along that way involves accepting the uncertainties of life, refraining from asking for absolute assurances and abandoning demands for perfection.  
I'm only 46 pages into this book which talks much of the essence of spirituality and the beginning few chapters are speaking loads about how acceptance of human imperfection is the essence of a spiritual life (obviously, given the quote and the title).  What I liked so much about this quote was the mention of the 'second step' of a spiritual life:  I like enumeration as it makes learning easy!

I like that I am being given guidance to accept my imperfections and with such acceptance I will live with them creatively.

I like the idea of accepting the uncertainties of life.  This is hard;  I go home in three weeks and am not sure what I'm going home to.  My roommate got her dream job in Chicago and is moving out before I get home.  I'm sad about this and feel completely powerless over the situation.  In that, it's an absolute blessing.  I get to be powerless and I get to not try to control the situation--Will her bathroom and her room be cleaned?  Will Sonja be taken care of? Will I have a job when I get home??  There are so many uncertainties of what lies ahead.  I must accept that there are uncertainties.

In this acceptance, I am reminded it is not my job to seek absolute assurances.  Oh, how I want to!!  I want to seek from Nate, that I'll know for sure about our future together.  I want to seek from friends, that they'll always be in my life.  I want assurance I worked hard for a Degree that will afford me a job I'll love and a lifestyle that will support my wants and desires.  I seek from God, that I'll be okay, taken care of, happy.... There is no such thing as an absolute assurance, just as there is uncertainty in life.  I believe these two are influentially linked.

I like I'm reminded to abandon my demands for perfection.  Since graduation, I've found this one quite a bit easier, and being away from Home, in Switzerland, loads easier, too.  I am a human.  I have good qualities and bad qualities.  I accept my assets are part of me, to be of Service to God and to others.  And, as well, my defects are part of me, so I can turn them over to God to be used as God needs them to be uses.  Do I need to show up as the asshole today?  Do I need to the kind, tolerant, and loving person today?  Do I just plain get to be human today, in all my imperfect glory?  It's a beautiful thing to accept me as I am, and to truly believe I am the way I am because God would have it be that way.  I trust God with my imperfections.  I don't want to be perfect.

(It helps loads I've graduated school with that sought after 4.0 and haven't yet taken NCLEX. We'll see how I fair with this talk once I have my NCLEX date and I'm stressing about the possibility of not passing.  YIKES!  At least in this moment, I feel confident with demands for perfection.)

I feel blessed with where I am.  On Wednesday, I received news of Noriko's amazing success and immediately was sad and terrified.  I made some Skype calls to my support crew, was given great advice about sitting still, and waiting for God to show me my next step.

I prayed.
I wrote.
I prayed more.
I took an amazing shower.
Then, I went to bed.

When I woke up, I was calm.  I was aware of my powerlessness and what a beautiful gift being truly powerless really is.  I was certain there is nothing I can do in this moment, in my being away, that can change the situation I am in, so I gave my fear to God and went about my day.

That was Thursday morning.  It's Saturday night, now, and I'm tired from a huge day in Interlaken with kiddos all around, rain and clouds socking us in, and a headache that's threatening migraine.

With all of that, the worry and anxiety I felt Wednesday night has not returned.

I've felt serenity, peace and calm. This is magical and miraculous!  Even though I'm not given certainties and assurances, I am blessed with a life so full and rewarding .


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