Wednesday, April 29, 2015

my kayaking pep talk from God

Do you follow Humans of New York on Facebook?  If you don't, you should- it's a fascinating collection of stories where a people are asked poignant questions resulting in a photo and a quote.  People say the weirdest and most interesting things. 
I'm starting to think that I dreamed it because I can't find this guy's quote from the other day, but it has stuck with me, rattling around in my head, catalyzing a collection of thoughts and a conversation with God.  It was an older gentleman who was asked, "If you could give one piece of advice to a large number of people, what would it be?"  His answer was to try not to medicate yourself.  He said something about feelings being just feelings and if you give it enough time, it will pass and you don't need to medicate with shopping or food or entertainment or drugs.  He said he understood because he was addicted to heroine for 10 years so he knows the temptation well.  But that was his one piece of advice and I thought it was brilliant and wise.  Don't we all tend to medicate?*

So then I found myself in the ocean, kayaking all alone- just me and God and me singing songs to Him and I feel like he whispered the answer and isn't it handy dandy that it rhymes?

Instead of medication, try meditation.

So often we medicate and try to skip over the pain and the hunger and the hurt and the sheer frustration of this fallen world and instead of feeling it and letting it pass, we medicate.  We eat one more handful of chocolate covered almonds, one more glass of wine. We buy the pair of shoes we really don't need, we check our Facebook again.   We would be better off to gain some self-awareness and call the feeling what it is and choose a phrase to pray, find a way to connect with God, speak what is true, find that breadcrumb trail to him in whatever situation we find ourselves.

"The child became a man and the man became a preacher whose sermons were full of commonplace things:  seeds and nets, coins and fishes, lilies of the field, and birds of the air.  Wherever he was, he had a knack for looking around him and weaving what he saw into his sermons, whether it was sparrows for sale in the marketplace, laborers lining up for their pay, or a woman glimpsed through a doorway kneading her family's bread... 'The kingdom of heaven is like this,' he said over and over  again, comparing things they knew about with something they knew nothing about and all of the sudden what they knew had cracks in it, cracks they had never noticed before, through which they glimpsed bright and sometimes frightening new realities... Every created thing was fraught with divine possibility; wasn't that what he was telling them?  Every ho-hum detail of their days was a bread crumb leading them into the presence of God, if they would just pick up the trail and follow."  Barbara Brown Taylor

Of course, it's easy for me to meditate on the love of God on vacation in the Carribean:  the love of God is vast and ineffable and beautiful like the ocean I'm floating on and it's wild like the waves but it will support me if I trust it enough to lay back and float.  Idealic circumstances beget easy meditation.  But it's back there at home, too, where things break and the sameness and the mundane and the endless mess-making creates places in my heart that are much more bleak.  But of course, God is always good and he's left a trail for me and I can find it if I would only open my eyes and choose meditation over medication more and more every day.

*For the record, I absolutely 100% endorse prescriptions by wise health care professionals for people whose brain chemistry is dysfunctional.  For the record.  That's a different story. 

1 comment:

lifeinthevillage said...

Oh my. You are on a fabulous roll. Meditation, how glorious it sounds. Now, I just need the peace to get there. ;)