Life is full of ups, downs and sideways. When we think we have life figured out it has a way of reminding us that it is never controlled or predictable. The question becomes; “Will we accept life as a constant state of change and challenge or continue to try to manipulate it to fit our needs?”
I was talking with someone yesterday about; “what is normal?” As we conversed back and forth there was agreement that there is no true normal. We spend our lives adjusting to the everyday small and sometimes huge changes that happen. The little tweaks are hardly noticed while the bigger adjustments are much more difficult to handle.
Accepting the transience of life is a necessary step on the path of peace. Only within, deep down, can big and small changes not move us. What is outside of us is always in flux but our inner selves can stay solid and still.
Open Hand –
I was speaking with someone this week about what it means to live a life of simplicity and poverty. Both of these are part of the vows I took when I became a Benedictine Oblate (http://www.osb.org/obl/intro.html).
I told him it was best summed up as the philosophy, theology, of “the open hand.” Life is transient. It moves, is never still. All the things and people we love are constantly changing, growing, getting older, decaying. Sooner or later we say; “Goodbye” to all things, even ourselves.
To live with an open hand it to allow and accept when any and all things come into our life. We do not grasp, possess, control but let them stay for as long or as little as they’d like to or can. Then, all things leave. They go away, decay, are fickled, stay for a season, die. As the remnants of what was, blows from our hands, we accept the truth that nothing is forever. We are blessed not because we have but because we experienced and this is enough. The experience changed us, taught us to love openly and to be reminded us there is nothing which is ever truly; “ours.”
To live with an open hand instead of gathering, collecting, hoarding, imprisoning we become detached to all that is only for a moment, and so make ourselves available to be held by the one who is eternal.
Our Siberian Husky, Trooper, has long nails on all four of his paws. Huskies use their nails for gripping more than most dogs. When his nails get long this results in him pulling up snags on the carpets we have in the house if he happens to stretch, sit up or start to run while on them. Yesterday, I was vacuuming the house and these rug snags were being grabbed and getting caught on the roller and burning the belt up. I had to go around the house and cut the snags to try to prevent this from happening. After I finished I reflected on my proclivity to grab on to things. Like the dog’s nails and the vacuüm cleaner, I hold on to things which I should let go.
Wisdom teaches us to live life open-handed, not to grab, grasp anything or anyone, but to allow them to come into and leave our life freely, accepting the transience of all that is made, exists.
Beth trimmed the dog’s nails and now there will be fewer snags on our rugs. May it be with me as well, as I move through life, basking in the glory of now and resisting the urge to grab and grasp.