Lost in Translation
When I was in New Orleans earlier this month with an old friend from high school, she talked about how much her little town, which used to be a sleepy backwater sort of place, has grown in the last 20+ years. When she and her husband bought their place, it was out in the country. You had to drive for miles and miles to get to any sort of services – even grocery stores or gas stations. Now their little subdivision is surrounded by oodles of other subdivisions, all sorts of commercial buildings and retail areas, and traffic on the two-lane road is horrible. Her husband is a curmudgeonly, often sarcastic, homebody who really, truly hates change of any sort.
One day when he was grumbling about the traffic, the noise, or the increased number of people, she asked whether he wanted to move further out of town. He said, “No, I just want all those people to go away.” And she said, “That’s not going to happen. What do you want to do?” His totally irrational reply, “Nothing. They just need to go away.” Obviously, that conversation had nowhere (useful) to go. She just dropped it.
The Buddha is quoted as saying, “Life is suffering.” I don’t think that’s a good translation of what he actually said. I have a sneaky suspicion what he actually said was something more like, “Life happens. When we want it to be different than it is, that’s when we suffer. It’s our attachment to our expectations that leave us feeling the most dissatisfied, and disappointed, in our lives.”
Somewhere on my trip back from New Orleans, I lost my keyring with all my house, car, mailbox and office keys on it. (I’ve never done that before.) I discovered this when I was waiting for the off-site parking shuttle to take me to my car. I felt a moment of true panic. I’d hoped I’d left it on the dresser in the hotel. Apparently not. I could have thrown myself a pity-party and suffered because I lost my keys somewhere, but then Reason took over and I worked my way through what I needed first. And then next, and next, and next, and next.
When I asked myself where I wanted to grab supper, I got an answer that delighted me. I hadn’t enjoyed a meal at Zinburger since before the pandemic. When I arrived, I told the young man who was seating people about my dilemma, and he asked me if I’d used the ‘Hotel Tonight app’ to find a hotel. When I looked puzzled, he explained that when he used to travel for work, and got delayed overnight at airports around the country, he’d looked up local hotels on this application. He’d always had a good experience, and recommend I look them up. After I placed my dinner order, I pulled up the app for Tucson, and the first hotel that popped up was one pretty close to my house that I’d been curious about, and the available rate was less than the published rate. I also realized, after I had parked myself in that newly-remodeled, and quite comfortable, hotel, that I had been wanting to re-key my house, but had never gotten around to it. When I met the locksmith the next morning, he was an amazing human being. All in all, losing my keys was an okay experience.
From Ernest Holmes, The Art of Life 6.1, “God is life; not some life but all Life. God is Action; not some action, but all Action. God is Power; not some power, but all Power. God is Presence; not some presence but all Presence. God is pure Spirit, filling all space. This pure spirit animates your every act. There is a real you which lives in a real God, and the two are one. To know this is to understand the secret of life. To realize this is to understand your relationship with the Divine Presence. To realize the Law of Good is written in your own mind is to make available to you a power which can meet your every need.”
And from Rev Karin Wilson, author of the daily readings in the Science of Mind magazine for December 2022 (December 24), “Today I give myself kindness, knowing the Universe supports me, even when the sands of time feel rough beneath my feet.”
When we work with the river of life, rather than fight against it, or wish it to be other than it is, we can enjoy the ride. And what an amazing ride it is!
–Rev Janis Farmer