A good friend gave me an expression that took me several weeks to "memorize". It was more than memorization, but it seems when I started to remember it, I was applying it to my life. It is a simple and beautiful expression that I always seem to appreciate after I apply the principle. Perhaps its no coincedence that I don't recognize it until I apply it.
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Indeed, the "Serenity Express" has arrived and picked up this wayward passenger. There was a story in the book about a fellow who was fearful of everything. He went on in his story where "Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes. Nothing changed, yet everything changed." He was talking about how he suddenly learned how to overcome fear.
I so much appreciate that story TODAY, and I so much can identify with him. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. My world has essentially remained in the same position as it was 24 hours ago, which hadn't changed from the 24 hours prior to that. Nothing changed. I still have a leg cast and have difficulty getting around. I still face the probability that I'll need a new knee joint, along with all the other physical challenges in store "right now".
My lady companion hasn't changed, my home is still standing, my dogs like to hang out. Nothing has changed about those people, places, and things that I find comfort and love within. I'm realizing the fact that because they haven't changed, I'm given the incredible and miraculous opportunity to change, and still have unchanging love and security right in the palm of my hand. This is a gift from a God who understands me better than I understand myself.
My lady-friend has been in the midst of major changes, including moving from her home with a disability and very little financial and physical security. She has physical problems that make my problems look like a walk in the park. She called last night completely frazzled and exhausted from moving and reorganizing to try to find some peace at my home. She had the right idea. I volunteered to cook dinner for her because she needed to be taken care of.
My home hasn't changed. It's become a home that I made into my refuge, my "secret garden". I made the home beautiful one-day-at-a-time just by playing "monkey see - monkey do" and learning from the people I do work for, or help out. I just made it a habit to do at least one thing a day to make my surroundings beautiful - sometimes just a tiny little thing.
Last night, on my way home, a major storm hit and my power went down. When I got home, my lady had already lit about a half-dozen candles that were sending some very relaxing and sweet fragrances throughout the house. She was worried that we'd have to "fake" dinner because there was no power. I just went about preparing dinner like nothing happened. I used the candle-lighter to light my gas range burners. She just smiled and said "Oh!" (she had an electric range). Seeing that I had everything under control, she went into the living room and relaxed and played with my dogs while I cooked.
However the circumstances played out in the past, I put candles all over the place, and whatever other light I needed was met by flashlights I left hanging around over time. The candles and the flashlights never stood out - in fact on a normal day you can't even notice them. But last night - I NEEDED to use them. And they were right there at my fingertips right where they had been over the years. Nothing changed yet everything changed.
So I cooked up a couple thick and juicy New York strips along with all the fixings. I served dinner by candlelight in this fancy dinnerware with square plates. I remember buying those dishes about a year ago, one piece at a time with no plan in mind other than it would be nice to have something pretty to have dinner served in if I ever had company. You know - while I was shopping for deoderant and garbage bags at Walmart. The dishes didn't change. They were right where they'd been for a year - never having been used. Last night was their debut. The lady loved the way I served dinner - I told her I bought the dishes just for us. She smiled. I did buy them "just for us", except there wasn't any "us" when I bought them. Nothing changed, yet everything changed.
My lady went to shower in my bathroom that I finished remodelling a year ago. I remodelled that bathroom to ADA standards with heavy duty grab bars, and of course there were candles there, too. Funny how I didn't know that I'd need the grab bars last night and today. But there they were. Nothing changed, yet everything changed.
While she showered, I went around the rooms downstairs and lit every single candle in the house, and the fragrances continued to fill the house, and now there was quite a bit of candlelight. I knew this because I've lit all the candles in the house before, and every single room and hallway have candles. But on normal days, I just walk right past them. Last night, the candles were our hosts and what a sweet and romantic way did they entertain us during the power outage! Nothing changed, yet everything changed.
Never in a thousand tries could I have planned out last night. Last night "just happened RIGHT NOW". In the twinkling of an eye, we both shared undoubtedly the most romantic and relaxing evening we ever shared together. God executed an extraordinary set of circumstances that were perfectly co-ordinated with everything that was ordinary in our lives. Just like that cold glass of water with the ice cubes on a hot day in the desert sun, an ordinary evening we might have both taken for granted turned into a slice of Heaven RIGHT NOW. Nothing changed, yet everything changed.
Dallas wrote:Everything? Was there "anything" that didn't change... right now?
And, "what actually changed"? Other than... "Right now!"
Right now, man! That's all I've got is Right Now! And, everything is okay Right Now... in this moment.
Then, I discovered... just about everything for me is always okay "right now"... when I'm in the moment.
When I'm beyond or behind the moment... it get's all screwy and nothing is totally okay!
But, when I maneuver to stay in the moment... suddenly, right now, "it changes"... and it's okay. I can get through Right Now. When I'm thinking about Left Now, Up Now, or Down now... I'm out of Right Now... and suddenly everything changes right now... for the worse!
Anyhoot. Perhaps this is just one of my sanity relapses... so try not to read with understanding and common sense what I wrote about.
For me, acceptance is not the answer to all my problems! My solution is change. Even acceptance is change. But, nearly always... my solution is something that I can change.
Dallas, you are 100% right. Yesterday, I couldn't find your point. I said I knew it was there somewhere, but I didn't get it. Today it makes complete and absolute sense to me! Nothing changed, yet everything changed! Pretty neat stuff, huh!
I already know there are probably a couple thousand men that would have traded their world for my single "right now" last night. What kind of crazy AA math is this?
I just say to my Higher Power, "OK God, I don't know what any of this means, but whatever it is, I'll bet it's an answer to my prayers. I'm just going to trust that I will appreciate this circumstance whenever the time comes."
Then God stops whatever he's doing in His busy day, and takes a minute to come into my world to say "By the way, Paul, here's a picture of what Heaven looks like RIGHT NOW
- I hope you enjoy it!"
Nothing changed, yet everything changed.
Somehow, my injury seems like something that happened years ago in a distant world.
Buddy let me tell you what! I have just been treated to an unquestionable Truth. I now know where this "Serenity Express" travels - its on page 25.
"We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed."