Gratitude & Growth

For the past few months I’ve been living in the mantra:
“God’s got me in a process – whatever comes, whatever happens all I need to do is stay humble and keep feeling, and praying, and I’ll grow”
And I’ve felt myself growing and learning and changing. I prayed and cried and journalled and just been heaps more honest with myself and it has all helped.
I’ve learnt to trust God more. I’ve begun to want Him and I’ve felt the tides of grief have been worth it. I’ve felt that they’ve left me cleaner and clearer.
But on Thursday, as the dust settled behind the rental car carrying the two men who had come to make the documentary about us, I didn’t want to be in the process anymore.
I wanted to find a dark, cosy hole of denial I could crawl into and forget about how exposed I felt, how awkward and inarticulate. I felt like I had failed to express how precious this Path is to me, how much it means to me, and I didn’t want to face certain exposure and ridicule.
AJ, Yeshua, my mate and the kindest soul I ever knew, kept reminding me that I’m just a work in progress but wow I felt so inadequate and imperfect. I felt like my mantra was smug and that I wasn’t ready for any of it, I just wanted a normal life again. I got into dangerous projection and denial territory.
I’m still coming out of it and I’m dismayed at how readily I slipped back into fear. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by many who love me and I feel upset when I let my connection with them sever because I fear the reactions of people I have never met.
The luminous lesson I revisited today was that of gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for.
I have a man who loves me so completely that I can’t even comprehend it.
I have God in my life. This is such a magnificent and humbling gift. I have starved for Him for most of my life.
I live a life that I am passionate about, that upholds ideals that I believe in. I am supported in this by so many, many of whom (many of you) I have never even met. I never believed that I would find a way and a place to live that fulfilled me and answered all of my questions. I found it and I am grateful.
I eat good, nutritious food. I am clothed. I have shelter.
Yes, I still need to process my fears, and the road ahead may have some tough emotions and situations to face but my life holds so much richness and beauty and possibility.
Some years ago I spent two years living in a refugee camp in southern Beirut, Lebanon. My brothers and sisters in that camp taught me much about dignity and suffering, about war and traffic. They extended to me deep hospitality and warmth. I feel privileged that they opened their homes and hearts to me. I felt my offerings in their community were so feeble in comparison. I still think of them often. I hope one day that I can do something to change the way their lives are lived. At present they live with scarcity of opportunity, education, clean air and nutrition.
Many of my old friends feel I have sold out on my humanitarian ideals. In fact I feel I have embraced them more strongly. It was too easy for me to avoid my disillusionment and cynicism through actions; actions that I knew were futile to make lasting changes in people’s lives. It’s hard, in times when I feel hopeless about my own progress towards God, to not be tempted to go back and make a splint for a Haji in Bourj el Barajneh, Beirut. 
Instead I remember the ones who live there. It makes me more grateful for the gifts I have been given and it spurs me on to make changes in this one soul. Changes that I hope, will ripple more positively and in much wider concentric circles than the ones I have created in the past.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude & Growth

  1. Teresa

    Thank you Mary for being part of the solution for me. God always answers when I long hard enough in a loving way, and I love the gentle methods he employs.

  2. Anonymous

    what a great opportunity to shine more light into the depths of your fears about your identity. i am grateful you have mentioned it here.i feel, the 'new' terror that i have experienced recently, which put me, as you phrase it, in a very dangerous space of projections and, for me, shut down, it was a level of fear, that I didn't know existed, but it helped me understand where is my 'safety switch', where is my boarder, where I was in my readiness to surrender, where I was with my faith in God. thank you for sharing Miriam ( yes, i feel your balance board is tilting over) =) much love xx

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