Inspirational thoughts from Lillian Corrigan, writer of The Bricks and Sticks of Life
Musings for October 2018 on "What Is"
Have you ever considered that things are exactly how they’re supposed to be? Does your nature or gut prefer that theory? Does it feel more comforting than a constant longing or feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled?
Most of us want and need; we desire, covet, and yearn. We wonder, hope, even fantasize… Much of that is good and healthy. Dreaming is wonderful, setting goals and achieving them is fabulous, but what about those basics? There is a tipping point - when too much energy is exerted on all those, “if it was only like ____,” or “if only I had ____.”
Can I accept the way things are? Should I? Why do I wish those fundamentals were different, that is, those things I can’t change? I’m talking about the parts of, in, and around me that just… are. What if instead, I believed everything is as it was meant to be? Might there be a reason behind it? What if I was designed to be born at this time, in this place, to these parents? What if I was meant to meet these people and experience these events?
It’s no use wishing I was taller, or born in 1901, or able to sing like Carrie Underwood. Notice, I’m not talking about things I can affect. If I don’t like the color of my hair, I might choose to dye it. If I don’t like where I live, I may set a goal to move. If I would like to have a full-time career writing for a magazine or caring for animals (both part of my semi-retirement plan), I can work toward that - however quickly or slowly makes sense depending on my big picture.
I start to become aware… If I accept those aspects of me that just are (as made by the Creator), my atmosphere is more relaxed; I exert less anxious energy. Someone once said, half the things we worry about, we have no control over. If I can’t alter them, will worrying over them make any difference? Considering that wisdom, I realize worry for such can only wear me out. I’ve also come to look at things I want and can amend differently. I could prioritize and work toward them, at an appropriate pace, so long as I move forward. I find there’s no need for extensive worry for things I have control over either. Instead I focus on is positive, healthy ambition. So, I need not waste energy pining over what can’t be different or worry about what can. What else is there?
So far I’ve learned to trade anxiety for acceptance or ambition. Let’s continue to contemplate…
I garner greater tranquility as I accept parts of me that just “are.” I might further consider there is a reason, a purpose. Maybe I was needed to be in this family to help this sibling through that hardship. Perhaps I was the daughter to this parent who needed my particular visionary perspective in order to be gratified in some way for which I may never comprehend. Perhaps a teacher gained new insight from my (otherwise off-putting) inquisitiveness and attention to detail. Maybe there’s a silver lining for having been, let’s say, “picked-on” through middle school for being shy, awkward, or geeky.* Imagine that what I experienced in my youth left me with a certain instinct to embrace, welcome, and defend those who don’t always fit in. I wonder if I was intended to “happen upon” the girl who became my roommate in college. If I wasn’t THIS me, with THESE traits (those bestowed and those that came through my specific experience), I may not have been sensitive to her pain, stopped to chat, and developed a friendship. If I hadn’t known apprehension, if I didn’t recognize anxiety for feeling outcast, things may have been very different. I’ll never forget how my gut-instinct was confirmed three years later, sitting on that little bed in our second-floor room. My roommate confessed how my introduction changed the course of that moment, that day, that week, and beyond… likely saving her life. I breathe deep. Even now, I pause as the story causes my skin to tingle. I was inspired by the gifts God gave me to reach out. All that I was screamed inside my whole being that day, “Something isn’t right!” The Spirit opened my mouth to say, “Hello,” even as I shook through my own trepidation, to strike up a conversation, visit for a bit, feel a connection, and suggest we meet later for lunch.
If life is somewhat fated, do I perceive it as destined or doomed?
I prefer to believe there is a grand scheme. I was (and you were) created out of love, with cause and for a purpose. Like the tree, bush, or wildflower who does not choose what field in which it is planted, what soil in which it rests, or what sunlight it receives; who does not dictate how much rain will come, or what animals will graze, or what weeds may surround it… I still sprout. And whether I’m tall or short, wide or flimsy, with deep colors or pale, I can grow into a magnificent piece of nature.
My life is as this me, in this soil, with these roots. My existence includes drought as well as life-giving rain. It is bequeathed with sunshine along with periodic storms. I am surrounded by both beautiful, inspiring flowers and ugly, stifling weeds. Yet, it is where I am planted.
I choose to blossom and flourish.
Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
We are His work of art, created in Christ to lead the life of good deeds which God intended from the beginning.
* For clarity: By NO means is bullying, abuse, hurtful, insulting, or demeaning activity right or appropriate in any way. Nor do I advocate hardships, pain, or suffering are blessings. Nevertheless, sometimes a portion of “bad” may be turned into a spark which is somehow used for good.
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Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.