Monday, May 5, 2014

"If you lose the moon, then be a star…."

"If you lose the moon,
then be a star.
It's not what you have,
it's who you are..."

It's the first weekend in May. It's the Kentucky Derby. And every first Saturday in May, I remember my first Derby.  I remember what it meant to me, then -- the horses, the riders, the trainers and owners -- and what it means to me still.  

It's been decades since I discovered that a horse could inspire a young girl to never give up. It's why I love the song, "It's Who You Are" from the Disney's "Secretariat." 

As a girl - and young woman - legendary horses like National Velvet, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and Seattle Slew filled my dreams.  Theirs were the stories I'd cling to each time my world fell apart. These were horses that -- early on -- were marginalized and dismissed by the elite horse racing community. And yet, each one rose from obscurity to become who they were meant to be.

As a child, I thought my circumstances destined me to be less. Not less than someone else, just less -- in every way. I thought that only girls who came from families of privilege and opportunity had promise -- would go to the right schools, marry good and kind men, and become women on note -- women who would make a difference in the world.

I didn't want to be wealthy or famous, I just wanted make a difference. But the cavernous yawning - which I perceived - between my family's means, and my hopes, seemed insurmountable.

But then I started reading books, seeing newsreels, and hearing stories about dogs and horses who were given the opportunity to rise above their early starts in life.  Having someone believe in them, seemed to give them opportunities to prove their worth.

I loved these stories.  I devoured them. But I didn't know how to find someone to believe in me. And it didn't help that for many years, I didn't even believe in myself. 

But reading -- and hearing about -- these courageous creatures gave me hope, courage, and confidence during many dark days when I felt like giving up on my dreams. And the more I started believing in their stories, the more I gave myself the right to believe that it might be possible for me - to make a difference in the world - too.  

And when I opened my heart to that possibility, I started to see that I did have people in my life who cared.  Teachers, mentors, family members, counselors, neighbors, co-workers, friends who were willing to encourage me when my belief in myself faltered.

I began to look at myself as a spiritual being -- not as collected bits and pieces of circumstantial human evidence.  I started to explore what it meant to be the image and likeness of God.

 I started to wonder: What if it's actually true -- that each of us has the fullness of God's goodness to work with, in fulfilling our purpose?  Well, then there would be no creature on earth who is "less." I began to see, that how we look at ourselves -- and others -- can make all the difference in what we believe is possible. We just have to know where to start, as Paul says, in "running the race that is set before us…" That point of departure was the key.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy says:

"The starting point
of divine Science is,
that God, Spirit is All-in-all,
and there is no other might..."

The word "might" doesn't just mean power, but also possibility. As in, "what might happen…" When seeing the All-ness of God's goodness -- in all of His creation -- is our starting point, the possibilities for each of us is limitless.

And in this All-in-allness, there is no "less." No lesser being, no lesser potential, no lesser starting point. 

This spiritual potentiality is not based on human circumstances -- socio-economic opportunity, breeding, early education, geographic predictions, genetics, birth order, race, gender -- but on our eternal oneness with the Source of all good, God.

And the race that is set before us, in never against someone else, but with ourselves.  It is a race in which we discover more of who we are, not less.  The race is not a race of comparisons, but of spiritual self-discovery.

We have a little puppy.  We love her with all our hearts.  And when I look at Tessie, I am reminded of how silly any limitations on our potentiality really are. 

Tessie was an extremely tiny puppy. She was not able to fend for herself among her littermates and needed to extra care.  She wasn't doing well and wasn't expected to thrive.  When we took her into our home as a foster puppy we had no idea how limitless her abilities were.

Who could have imagined that a rejected, one-and-a-half pound puppy would make the kind of extraordinary difference in our home, that she has. Who would have thought that she would inspire each of us to be kinder, gentler, less selfish, and more loving -- more of who we were meant to be.

Each of us -- as spiritual beings -- has the fullness of infinite individuality to draw upon as we explore our divine purpose and potentiality. 

We don't have to become famous to make a difference in the world.  We only need to become ourselves.  We are already wonderful, amazing, extraordinary men, women, children, horses, dogs and creatures with divine purposes that are written on our hearts. 

 We can deepen that self-knowledge and become magnificently compassionate -- remarkable for our ability to recognize the good in others and celebrate their beauty and the bounty of their spiritual gifts. We can be notably humble, full of grace, abundantly kind.

We can learn from each other, and inspire one another. If we are willing to open our hearts -- and our eyes -- we can find encouragement in all of creation. We can learn to let ourselves blossom into the fullness of God's holy purpose for us.  Not because we are ambitious, but just because it's who we are. It's simply who God needs us to be -- His Allness, in all. 

This year a horse named California Chrome brought us an inspiring Kentucky Derby story.  Our little girl, Tessie, teaches us something new every day.  Our daughters are learning remarkable lessons about trust and selflessness from her and the extraordinary horses they are riding.  And I am learning from them.  Each of us is a sweet reminder to the other.  

All of nature teaches us, that we each have the potential to run the race that is set before us with confidence and grace, when we start from the right starting point -- because, it's who we are.   

offered with love,


[photo credits: Clara and Tessie by Emma / Emma and Tessie by Clara]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:38 PM

    I am up late tonight reflecting on a good stand for what's right that I'm working on taking in my life right now, and this blog post brings me so much comfort.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.