Recently I received a new awareness that was liberating. Like a pilgrim summiting a mountain pass, I beheld a fresh landscape. Rolling green hills with clusters of trees and fields of wildflowers sprawled out before me.
I savoured this new way of being for ten full seconds before regret caught up to me. I looked back at the road I’d travelled and thought how much better it would have been if I’d only woken up sooner. Blame was on the heels of regret.
Now, instead of strolling leisurely into green pastures, I was weighed down with the disappointment that I had let locusts ravage my life.
Picture us, this motley band of pilgrims: Regret, Blame, Disappointment and me all pressing forward preoccupied–hardly feeling the soft grass, barely noticing the still waters–while Wonder trails behind.
We didn’t travel long before we came upon a stranger sitting on a rock. We invited him to join us. The nearest refugio would be hours away, and he seemed interested, so I told him about my new discovery and the mixed feelings that accompanied it.
The stranger listened intently. Then beginning with the prophets, he explained what the scripture said concerning this. “Isaiah says,
‘From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
“Yes, I knew of them.”‘”
Then he added, “Didn’t you say this new awareness was something given to you? How can you blame yourself for not having what had not yet been given?”
He went on to quote the prophet Joel. “And didn’t God say, ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten’? Nothing behind you has been wasted. God will redeem every bit of it.”
Wonder slipped in close and put her arm around me. My eyes were opened: I knew this man.
“Then you’re not disappointed in me, that I didn’t get here sooner?” I asked the Christ.
He laughed and shook his head.
I stood there for ten full seconds before Wonder found words for the lightness I felt: I can enjoy the person I’m becoming and still be kind to the person I was.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
–St.Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer
* * *
Citizen Advocacy Ottawa’s Fetal Alcohol Resource Program held their First Annual Invisible Disabilities Symposium in March 2017. My friend Tanya Eichler (left), along with other Symposium Committee members from in and around Ottawa, joined together to help educate, connect and encourage individuals with invisible disabilities and those who support them and the unique challenges they experience. Their keynote speaker was, Kim Barthel, a leading expert in sensory processing, trauma, attachment and neuroscience. See that smile? That’s how Tanya looked when she told me all about it. The event was a huge success.