When I was 20, I went on a spiritual retreat. One day, we were told to be silent. No talking and on our own as much as possible. We could eat together, but no talking. Everyone must remain silent. We were trying to listen for God’s voice. Well, I do not know about you guys, but quieting my mind is more difficult than not talking. I think about everything and worry about more than I should. When someone says try to listen for God, I freak out. My mind begins to think constantly about why I do not hear His voice.
Even at age 20, which is almost 20 years ago, I felt this way. I would like to say that things have changed, but with my anxiety, it has not.
So that morning, I decided to take a walk. Our retreat was up in the mountains, next to a beautiful stream with many,many wild flowers. Oh it was gorgeous! So I knew I wanted to hike along the stream to look for a place to sit and try to listen. As I began my walk, I would see the best places to sit and ponder, but they were already taken. I would get mad and say to myself, “Everyone else has the best place, why can’t I have the same spot?”
The further I would walk, the more I realized that all the great spots were taken. Why couldn’t I find a spot like everyone else had? Why did they get all the good stuff? Now I was about a mile and a half into my hike, and I was getting so frustrated. I wanted to hear from God damnit, and I couldn’t because everyone else had the perfect spot. The interesting thing is, I did not turn around and go back, I just kept walking. I came to a dead spot in the walk where everything seemed to be brown and crunchy. I became even more mad and actually began yelling at God, as to why he talks to everyone else but me. Why does he give good gifts to all the others, but me, I get a dead spot?
Still, I walked.
Suddenly, the trail opened up into a huge green meadow. The meadow was lush, green beautiful, and colorful with newly blossomed wildflowers. And I realized that God had spoken all along. And it is a lesson that I have needed to be reminded of.
The lesson is that I spend a great deal of time looking at other people and what they have. Not possessions, but family, friends, spiritually. I get frustrated and wonder why I cannot have what they have. Why do I get to keep walking? Why do I have the crunchy dead spots? But in reality, I do have the most lush green beautiful life. I may have to walk and walk to get there. I may have to go through the nasty stuff, but when I come out of it, I have beauty. I have to focus on the beauty in the journey as well, and be happy for the people who are in there beautiful spots. You see, they had to go through nasty stuff to get there. I just do not know their story.
Instead of dwelling on what others have and what I do not, it is time to remind myself to be happy for them. Love them and know that what they have been through to get there has been just as difficult or more so than what I have been through.
Your time is coming, just keep walking.