Thursday, April 10, 2014

"a full-orbed promise…"

"A dream is a wish your heart makes
when you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches,
whatever you wish for, you keep.

Have faith in your dreams and someday
your rainbow will come smiling through.
No matter how your heart is grieving,

if you keep on believing,
the dream that you wish will come true..."

- David/Hoffman/Livingston

I love it when a Disney song, like Cinderella's "
A dream is a wish..." speaks to me of God's redemptive, transformative love. Here's the story that goes with this song.

It was a cool, cloudy day in Boston. It had been a very long season of heartache, and I was ready for the quietness of the soft air, and less brilliant light.  I took solace in its promise. I needed time to sift through the ashes of the year, and find the gold -- the lessons I could glean from so many fiery trials. 

That year, I'd been stripped of every dream I'd ever cherished. And yet, I was still standing, still breathing, still dreaming.  I was grateful that hope was still alive in me, that there were desires I still cherished. The devastation of the year, hadn't destroyed my ability to dream.  And yet, some days were easier than others.

For the most part, I could navigate all that came in the wake of that year's deep disappointments -- as long as I kept my hand in God's, and my sights on the tasks at hand.  In truth, there was so much to be grateful for. And this space of gratitude became my resting place. Especially when I grew weary of the constant ache -- the longing for the joys of motherhood and family. 

The insidious disease that had lain waste to my body earlier that year -- was healed.  The job I'd loved -- but had given up in order to parent our son -- was mine to do, again. And although my husband and I were finding our way through some dark days, we
were finding our way. Each day brought us closer to God, if not always to each other.

On this particular day, I was truly happy.  I loved my job. I was immersed in projects that stretched me professionally, I was facing challenges that made great demands on me as a spiritual thinker, which brought me immense joy. 

That morning, in the midst of negotiating a contract for outside services, I realized that I needed a signature from a member of our Board of Directors. The Executive Assistant in our office was not at her desk.  But, it was a gorgeous, blustery day in Boston. So I took her absence, as an excuse to wrap myself in a sweater and scarf, and wander across the plaza for the needed signatures myself. 

I took the elevator to the ground floor, and exited the large brass doors that stood sentinel over our building. But as I rounded the steps of the large church to my left, I caught a glimpse of something that stopped me in my tracks.

There, sitting on the curbing that hemmed a rare stretch of urban lawn, was a young family.  Mom, dad, and preschool-age daughter taking time out for a midday visit.  It was easy to see that these were adoring parents. Their hearts were devoted to this precious little girl.  And the look on her face, as she smiled up at them, was something I'd long been dreaming of. 

It stopped me cold.  In one heart-wrenching moment I went from the joy of feeling purposeful and mission-filled, to heart-broken and hopeless.  Envy flooded my being.  You aren't really happy it screamed."  "You want

I did. I did want what they had. I wanted a child. I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to be a real family -- not just two people trying to make it work. 

But I was also bone-tired. I felt like I'd been through a war -- within, and without. I was battle weary and sad. This feeling of emptiness -- this gaunt want -- just couldn't continue. It had to stop.

So I plopped myself right down on the marble steps of that church, and tried to get a grip on myself.  I was so tired of that feeling.  I was so ready to be free of baby-envy.  It had been going on for too many years.  I really didn't want to want something I couldn't have.  I wanted to be happy with my lot in life.  I was tired of this feeling and I wanted it to stop. 

In my desperation I said to God, "I am not moving from these steps until you heal me of this envy.  I'm going to stare at that family until I can look at them, and not want what they have." 

And then I just sat there watching them.  I couldn't help but notice how tender this young father was with his daughter. It was impossible to not see how devoted this mom was to her young family. 

The love in the child's eyes, the trust in her reach, the joy in her laughter -- as her daddy lifted her up in his arms -- was undeniable.  I could almost feel it from across the gray pavement where I sat perched on the cold marble steps.  

They were oblivious of me -- and of my envy.  While I sat there feeling so utterly helpless -- unable to banish my love for that image of family and parenthood sitting squarely and heavily on my heart -- the thought came with such tenderness, "If you are able to be conscious of how wonderful and good that picture is, then it is already in your consciousness. And if it is in your consciousness, you already include it -- it is already yours."  Well, I "got it" instantly. 

If I could appreciate something -- see that it was good, lovely -- and love-able -- it was already mine.  I included it.  Since, as Mary Baker Eddy says, "Consciousness constructs a better body..." The good that I was clearly conscious of, was already present within me. And it was constructing a better body of family, motherhood, life -- moment-by-moment -- in me.

No one could take - from me - what I was conscious of. Nothing could deprive me of my right to appreciate good -- in any form.  It was mine.  Everytime I saw a young family, a happy home, a satisfied professional, a charitable colleague and appreciated that "picture," I was realizing it in my consciousness. Therefore, I already included it. 

And as I appreciated (realized the value of, and was grateful for) each instance of good, that good appreciated (grew in value -- just the way money placed in an interest accruing account "appreciates") in my own life.  I could trust this law of appreciation.  I could rest my hopes upon it. 

As I unfolded myself from the cold church steps, I found that I was actually warmer than I had been in a long time.  My heart was full of appreciation for that young family -- who were now becoming a distant blur as they walked "daddy" back to his office at the far end of the plaza.

It didn't matter whether there was a young family right in front of me, or just the memory of them that I held in my heart, I already included what they represented. It was already mine and no one could take it from me. I was pregnant with the promise.

I have spent the ensuing years exercising my right to be conscious of good.  To realize that what I am conscious of, 
is mine. And by virtue of its presence in my thought, is already part of my experience.

For me this has been the key to having all of my dreams
already come true. 

Everytime I appreciate seeing girlfriends laughing at a café table, I feel closer to my own friends -- even though they may be hundreds of miles away.  Everytime I see a mother and her teenage daughter shopping, I know that I include that unique mother-daughter joy -- even though my own daughter is now living half a world away.

Whenever I am suddenly aware that a checker at the supermarket, or a customer service representative at the other end of the phone, is happy in her work -- helping others as she carries out her job -- I feel that "job satisfaction" as part of my own work.

Mary Baker Eddy, in her short volume, Unity of Good, says:

"Everything is as real as you make it, and no more so. 
What you see, hear, feel, is a mode of consciousness,
and can have no other reality than the sense
you entertain of it….All that is beautiful and good in
your individual consciousness is permanent."

Walking through life is an amazing adventure.  I now know that what I appreciate of a husband's tenderness, a child's respect, a mother's devotion, a family's security, a home's warmth, an executive's integrity -- is all of my dream's coming true -- wherever I see it. It is mine. I am conscious of it. It is part of the body of my thinking. 

What a vastly wonderful world we live in. What promises there are for us as we walk out the door and commit to seeing, and being grateful for - appreciating - good everywhere. And when we do, we are having our part in the wholeness of impartial and universal good --Love's full-orbed promise.

offered with love,


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:49 PM

    You are a great writer. I appreciate reading it as a mother-to-be