I feel like I’m being held hostage at a roadside rest stop, and it’s COVID blocking the on-ramp back to my life. As I write this, it’s day 15 of my sickness, and never before have I experienced this level of fatigue.
Life awaits, but I can’t get there. I’m stuck at a stop.
I pull my figurative car to the edge of this rest stop where COVID lay across the exit like a giant sloth. I raise my fists. I lay on the horn. I yell a few choice words. It won’t be hurried.
What’s the invitation here?
That’s the annoying little question us spiritual directors are known to ask at times like these. But seriously, what’s the invitation?
Clearly it’s not that I keep ramming into this sloth of sickness, expending all my energy in resistance and resentment. Certainly not. (And yet I do).
What are my other options? How can I “be here now” when this isn’t where I want to be? How can I enter in to where I am, when I desperately want to be elsewhere?
Acceptance, Spirit whispers.
Surely you jest, I reply.
I cross my arms in opposition and dig in to further the fight.
I’m not always wise. Or rational. I just want out, dear friend, and acceptance feels more like a way in.
The invitation remains. Sits down beside me, as a matter of fact. We have a little chat.
Jenny, you could get out of your car, sweetheart.
You could have a little picnic, see that table over there in the shade?
You could stretch your legs a little, you’re so tense, daughter!
Jenny, look!, a hammock! You love hammocks! You could take a nap.
You could watch the birds.
You could bear witness to that wildflower’s unfolding, watch the clouds float by, maybe even talk to one or two others stranded at a stop of their own.
There is beauty and there are gifts even here, but none of them will be acknowledged, accessed or acted upon, apart from acceptance, dear heart.
Friend, the freedom lies in choosing what we did not choose. The way in is the way out. I don’t like this truth, but it remains just the same.
As Jacques Philippe wrote in his book, Interior Freedom:
“In order to become truly free, we are often called to choose to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price.”
“We should not spend time cursing interiorly or telling ourselves we can’t wait till it’s over or dreaming of a different life. We should accept things as they are. Life is good and beautiful just as it is, including its burden of suffering.”
- What are you resisting or resenting?
- What’s the invitation?
- Pray the Welcoming Prayer – a prayer of radical acceptance.
- Find something beautiful or good in a place you’d rather not be.
- Read Jacques Philippe’s powerful little book.
- Our song of the week is: Find You Here by Ellie Holcomb.
- Help me to accept what I did not choose.