Saturday, 12 December 2009

Trust in God's providence

Life continues apace. Steve and I expect to move in about three months and we still have heaps of cleaning up to do on this house in preparation for its sale. Everyday, I am focused on this task and it is difficult to focus my mind on writing my blog. Usually, I have quiet time reading and thinking, in which I formulate my ideas for my next blog entry.

Life has become strange for me. It is unusual and mildly unsettling to spend each day dedicated to getting rid of everything in your house bar the essentials, and sorting things out around the property knowing you'll never see them again. They're not activities one does very often in life. Managing a large transition is a full-time project. It provides me with a full-time job while at the same time keeping from a full-time job.

I spend much time thinking about how I will live on the new property: how it will be sitting in each room of the new cottage, how it will be walking around the paddock and trees, how it will be living in a much warmer climate, how it will be living where there are no street lights and the night will be dark and the stars clear, how it will be with no immediate neighbours, how it will be living where plants grow easily and trees fruit readily, how it will be for me for writing?

They say that shifting house is as stressful as getting married. I couldn't understand this until now because the two activities seem like completely different kinds of changes. But what's common to them is that they are permanent changes and there's only so much you can plan for the long-term future. You can't anticipate all the things you'll be confronted with in your new life. You just have to decide that you'll take the plunge and leap into the deep end of the swimming pool and hope that you'll come up breathing.

In fact, this is what Baha'u'llah tells us to do in our spiritual lives. It appears in a couple of places: Gems of Divine Mysteries and the Mathnavi.

"Great God! This sea had laid up lustrous pearls in store;
The wind hath raised a wave that casteth them ashore.
So put away thy robe and drown thyself therein,
And cease to boast of skill: it serveth thee no more"
-- Gems, paragraph 43
"You, likewise, Noah, break the body's Ark
and hurl yourself into the Sea of Light!
Don't seek self-preservation; Drown this self!
then you'll come up for air in God's embrace
Seek out the King's protection, not the ship's
– the King's preserve will then provide refuge"
-- Mathnavi lines 191-3

Both passages talk about the same thing: letting everything go - absolutely everything except Baha'u'llah. I always knew I had never achieved this level of detachment, but the unsettling, uprooting task of shifting house has helped me along the path, and I'm grateful for it. The process has taught me much about learning to rely on God and trust in the Lord's providence. I am getting more out of my devotions now. Consider: what can I do? I am powerless about my future and what will happen to me. I don't expect it to be bad, but it is uncertain and I have only so much control over it (and even that is an illusion).

The more I let go, the more simple life becomes, and the more simple life becomes, the more beautiful it is, and the more beautiful it is, the more I see God in everything. I rejoice in little things all around like I have never done so before. I am the happiest now than I've ever been in my life. It feels like the simple joy of childhood. I feel like I am returning to my Lord and I cannot ever say how glorious he appears to me.

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