I burned my hand last week, and it was a great reminder of how far I’ve come in life. I was ironing my dress. I was ironing a skirt when I was 8 years old the first time I burnt my hand. I can’t even see the old scar any more. But I remember that I was devastated by it. I watched with great intensity the healing process. I was mesmerized by the change in pigmentation and the application of cocoa butter, examining the wound each moment. I even walked down the street to my Aunt Essie’s house so that she could examine it. As far as I was concerned, it was a family tragedy. But last week, I nearly ignored the burn. Even if I had time to be preoccupied with it, life had already taught me that burns heal and eventually disappear or fade into the background. The burns, scars, scrapes, falls, slips, diversions, and other mishaps of life teach us that they too will pass.
Yeah, we can linger in the diversions of life – the pain of disappointment, the misfortune of loss, the sadness of death, the fear of challenge – or we can allow the fleeting moment to be the great teacher that it is. Each experience makes us stronger, wiser, better, more resilient, more able to take life as it comes.
We can ride the storm. We can be the grace that is so profound it walks on water. When we experience what we don’t want, we know what we do want. We can stop giving our attention to what doesn’t make us feel good. We can get up, brush ourselves off and be grateful for the blessing of every mistake, every shortcoming, every miscalculation, every surprise visit, every failed attempt, every angry threat, every false accusation, every crazy outburst, every lack of patience, every missed opportunity. These moments teach us to pay better attention, to anticipate with discernment, to trust our instincts, to be more flexible, to rise to the occasion, to try harder, to love more, to wear the anointing of God, to stay centered in peace, to cull the seeds of prayer in the consistent practice of believing that life is always teaching us that the glass is never half empty. Our glass is full.
Miserable moments are our greatest teachers. Or, as poet Nikki Giovanni once wrote, there are too many new mistakes that can be made, it is not necessary to repeat the old ones. We can stop worrying and instead just surrender to the loving energy of the universe as the fullest expression of our power, purpose and potential. It is our divine birthright as children of God, as vibrational beings of Spirit, to stay lifted in the realization that we are the extraordinary heirs to a supernatural throne of absolute good. Even what others mean for evil, God means for good.
Miserable moments teach us that we can seize the reins of our lives and give our energy and focus and attention to the situations and circumstances and people that make us feel awesome. We can even distinguish what we don’t want by virtue of experiencing it. We can also choose to experience what we want – to see the cup as pouring streaming flowing running over. The Lord is our shepherd, we have everything we need.
We were given the divine gift of creativity to plant seeds in the universe that will do even greater things than we could ever begin to imagine. We have the ability to learn from what we don’t want – what we do want; the ability to be the light in darkness; the ability to step outside the madness of misery and center ourselves instead in the grace of the whole being of God. Miserable moments teach us that beyond the appearance of lack and fear, there is a wellspring of good that feeds our souls. All we have to do is take one step, release one breath, have one vision, bless one moment beyond what we think – and call it all good.
God speaks as me. God expresses through me. God heals me. God reconnects me. God eases my path. God conspires to help me. God runs the race through me. God does the work that I was appointed to do. God removes those who mean me no good. God reveals what I need to know. God positions me to move through the misery that sometimes appears – as though it was nothing more than a faint smell, or a passing thought, or a bad odor. And when I seize the moment that I once called misery, I see God in its eyes – a God that always amazes me, always loves me, always teaches me.