Just One Try…Really?

When our children learn to walk they take slow and unsteady steps.  They fall down, again and again.  We watch their journey to mobility and know that eventually they will reach success.  None of us ever expect them to get it right on the first try.  We, as parents, would never say to them after their first fall, that’s it, you’re done, no walking for you.

When I was a kid I played softball.  The phrase that is forever burned into my brain is “Shake it off.”  I was the strike-out queen and that’s what the coaches and parents say when you strike out.  “Shake it off, babe.  You’ll get em next time.”  There was always a next time, another chance for me to hit the ball and run the bases.  I struck out more times than I can remember, but I’ll never forget the way I felt the time I hit a triple (even though it turned out to be a foul ball).  For a brief moment I felt the glory of hitting the mark.

So as I have begun to explore spiritual topics, the subject of reincarnation has come up.  And for me this is one of the reasons that it feels like truth to me.  Our entire lives are based on practice makes perfect.  If we fail a grade or subject in school we are sent back to repeat it.  In the job market, experience is vital.  When I wrote my first novel and queried literary agents, I quickly realized that I needed to have experience to even get noticed.  I also learned that I needed to practice my craft so that I would have a product worth reading.  So what I believe is that life is exactly like this.  I think that the soul’s ultimate goal is to reach God realization or the mystic’s conciousness.  We are put here by God, to experience for God, and ultimately reunite with God.  But that is a huge task and takes much more than just one try.  We come back again and again learning different lessons along the way.  We experience all of the duality this worldly life has to offer and eventually we reach the point where we can rise above it.

I do not find comfort in accepting that this cushy life I have, in which I have been clothed, fed, cared for, and spoiled is my only try here.  I like to believe I have earned the blessings and beauty that have filled the experience in my 34 years.  I think of the woman in Darfur who has just been brutally raped and watched her husband murdered at her feet and I pray that in the next life she will be a queen.  I can’t accept that the millions of Jews that died in the Holocaust had only one chance and that one chance ended in the most inhumane suffering.  I can’t accept that Hitler murdered all of those people and doesn’t get the chance to come back and save at least one.

I believe that God is both feminine and masculine, mother and father.  I don’t know any set of parents who would expect their children to learn every lesson and get everything right with just one try.  And if I subscribe to the belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, why would I believe that God gives me just one try to learn all of life’s lessons and return like the prodigal son?  So if you ask me why I believe in reincarnation…this is the first reason I’ll give you.


Life is Precious

I’m writing this on Tuesday evening.  Today I found out that someone I went to high school with lost his battle with cancer.  He left behind a beautiful wife and a toddler.  Last year a young father in Tallahassee died in a car accident, leaving behind his pregnant wife and 2 daughters.  In January 2008 my sorority sister, Susie, lost her battle with cancer as well.  At the time of her death her daughter was 3 and her son was 5.

Death is something that is supposed to happen to the elderly.  It’s something that should come as a kind of reward for putting in your time, working hard, watching the generations beneath you grow, and meeting your goals.  When it happens to people my age or younger we pay attention.  When it happens to people who have young children and are seemingly just building their lives we stop and take stock.

That is what I am doing in this post.  I am so grateful for my life.  I am grateful for my husband and daughters and the way that we take care of each other.  I am so proud of what Mark has acheived in the years we’ve been together and that his accomplishments have allowed me the opportunity to stay home with our daughters.  Not only have I been available to my girls but I have also learned to be available to myself.  I’m not sure that this would have happened if I was still in the classroom teaching.  I am grateful for writing and learning.  I love that when I walk into Border’s and inhale the scent of the books something comes alive inside of me.  I am thankful for my friends, the ones I’ve re-connected with, the ones I’ve always had, and the newest ones.  I am grateful for the family I grew up with, my precious loving mother, hard-working and honest father, my organized and faith-filled oldest sister, and my caring, doting, and forgiving older sister.  I have learned and am still learning so much from them.  I am grateful for my spirituality.  I am glad that I did my own searching and found God in my own way.

There is so much to be thankful for that this post could go on for days.  I’m sure I will revisit gratitude in the future.  What I know today is that life is precious.  It is great to have dreams and fantasies about our futures.  I definitely believe in putting in time planting those seeds.  But like plants need water and sunlight, I think our dreams need to be nurtured with gratitude for what we already have.  I believe that the more time we spend being grateful, the more things arrive for us to be grateful for.

What are you grateful for?  If you have it, take the time to comment!