Life in the MIddle

What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One whose only purpose is your good?
A Course in Miracles Lesson 255

Certainly, one of the biggest challenges of human life is dealing with change.  And change is ubiquitous as the axiom goes, the only certainty in life.  Of course, we like the changes that match our preferences but when a change results in something we value coming to an end we struggle to accept.  But is there ever really an “end?” Isn’t it true that we are always in the middle – never at the end?  Of course, there are apparent endings in situations such as when employment or a relationship or any other time-bound circumstance comes to an end. When we see these endings as “terminal conditions”, we can fall into grief and hopelessness and that’s very human and understandable.

However, wisdom can reveal a different perspective that can lift us from despair when we are facing change and loss. In life, unlike a play in two parts, one scene leads to another indefinitely, until we are no longer on this world stage.  One situation ends, gives rise to a new situation, which will end soon enough, followed by yet another scene. Each scene yields the potential for life to become something new, rife with possibility, challenge, losses, and gains, sorrows and joys…and on it goes.  When we behold our life in the context of life’s ongoing nature, we are always in the middle – never at the end.  Knowing the story is yet unfinished, how can we judge it good or bad, right or wrong, favorable or unfavorable.  The following story that has been told and retold in many traditions illustrates how judging life is always premature:

Once upon a time, there lived a poor farmer who lived alone with his one son. They were poor and lived a hard life. One day their only horse ran away. Their fellow villagers lamented saying, “What will you do now? That was your only horse. How will you farm your land? You are so unlucky.”

To this, the poor farmer said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later the farmer’s horse came back bringing with it a wild horse. And the villagers said, “Now you have two horses to work your land. You’re so lucky!”

And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

The next day the farmer’s son was taming the wild horse when he was thrown from her back and broke his leg. And the villagers said, “Now who will help you work your land? That is your only son. How unlucky.”

And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later the army came through town. They were there to draft all the able-bodied young men to fight in a distant war for their emperor. All the young men of the village, except for the poor farmer’s injured boy, were taken away. The villagers watched as their children were taken away. They looked at the poor farmer and his boy and said, “You’re so lucky.”

And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Our way shower, Jesus, who was a master of life, cautioned against “judging by appearances.”  Knowing as he did that there is only one beneficent power and presence undergirding all of life, it is always too soon to abandon hope and never too early to expect a grace-filled blessing to emerge from every situation.  There is always more Life to come, more good to be revealed, more of the sacred eternal to displace our sense of loss. This is how we pray in Unity, acknowledging the apparent limitation, but then lifting our awareness to the ever-present infinite presence of life and love that is endless.  This is the good news story of your life and mine that never ends.  Get in the middle of that idea and hope springs mightily.

Peace and blessings,
Rev. Larry