Cattail Brown

Some of you who were on Sunday’s zoom service noticed I left my chair while Michael Zimmerman played Wholly Holy Way. My handyman had knocked on my door, even though I told him that we recorded between 10:30 and 11:30 or so and that I’d really prefer we didn’t get interrupted. He felt like his interruption was valid. The cattail brown paint that he got for my porch covering wasn’t the same as the cattail brown paint on my neighbor’s porch covering. He was right. It didn’t match. I said there wasn’t any point in continuing with the painting and I’d get with the homeowner’s association (HOA) rep and see what was they thought since we’d bought the paint they had instructed us to buy, and clearly it wasn’t right.

Unbeknownst to me, this fed into a whole chain of events already in motion. The rep came by. I learned that the HOA had given me outdated, actually false, information on the paint color in error. I also Iearned that a letter was coming out for the entire HOA restating the agreements, with which we had all concurred when we bought into the neighborhood, about allowable paint colors and needed maintenance for the individual units, etc. I wondered how much of this had been spurred on by me getting my porch repaired, but didn’t ask.

The paint color mystery isn’t solved yet, though I do have a physical sample now to take to get it matched at the store. In working to get a bigger perspective on this in my mind, I remind myself of the stories we tell ourselves about what happens in our lives, and how much we love it when we have a sweet, simple and tidy bow around a problem and its solution, and how infrequently that truly happens. There’s usually more going
on than meets the eye.

James Hollis wrote, in Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, When I was young, I fantasized I could learn all that was needed to know to choose rightly; today I know that I can never know enough, that there are always unconscious factors at work, which will only become apparent down the line, if then, and that the old powers, “memory’s unmade bed” are far stronger than I ever gave them credit for…. From this encounter with our limitations the wisdom of humility comes; to know we don’t even know what we don’t know, and that what we don’t know will often make choices for us. (I don’t know if I recommend this book yet. We’ll see.)

In Religious Science we use different words to describe this same experience. We talk about the beliefs of the collective unconscious, default thinking, or what everybody believes, and how if we don’t intentionally (and profoundly) choose differently, we get to experience what everybody else believes is true. The old school religious scientists among us call this bias by a different name, ‘race consciousness’ or ‘race tendency’, which is an unfortunate word choice. It isn’t race as in skin color or ethic heritage, it is race as in the human race, in other words everybody’s unaware, unintended or unintentional unconscious thoughts and beliefs.

So what’s my take-away? I will get to the bottom of this puzzle, and being irritated for receiving bad data doesn’t help me, and I don’t choose to feel victimized by the slowdown. My handyman was bragging (to me) that I was going to have the nicest porch awnings in the development, and that everyone else was going to have to step up their game. He may be right, if the HOA letter says what I think it is going to say, and it’s going to require a little more work on my part for me to get there. I’m OK with that. It’s good for us all.

Ernest Holmes wrote, in The Science of Mind 560.2, The whole order of discord is changed into the natural order of harmony and wholeness, and we let that Divine Power be exactly what It is in us. We are no longer afraid, for love casts out fear. Our faith destroys all fear. We awake from the dream of fear to the vision of Reality, where there is no shadow of which to be afraid. We awake from the dream of lack and want and
unhappiness to the knowledge of harmony, of abundance and of peace.

I get to decide whether I see the experiences of my life as hard or easy, simple or complicated, and I get to decide how to engage with others… remembering everyone does their best. (Thank you, Don Miguel Ruiz) Some days, and some times, are easier than others. None of that changes the Truth.


–Rev Janis

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