Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Not long ago someone looked me in the eye and said, "How do you not just hide in the closet with your head between your knees all day?"

I'm quite sure I stood there with my jaw hanging open for a full minute before I dared utter a response.  The audacity of the question still astounds me.
Did this person really express that facing the reality of my day to day existence would send them into a catatonic state?  

I will attempt to answer this, though, because - audacious as it was - it's a good question.  What this person really wants to know is, "How do you make your life work?" which has, underlying it, "How can I make my life work?"

Several core attitudes/practices come to mind, but the first is acceptance.  Seeing clearly, seeing what is and calling it exactly what it is.  Accepting it. This is a component of healthy living.

This may seem elementary, but I daily encounter people who do not have acceptance in their lives. In fact, the most dysfunctional, mess-making people I've come across have been people who exist in a state of denial.  They aren't pretending life is hunky-dory for the sake of appearances, no.  That's dysfunctional, for sure, but I'm talking about something far more damaging.  I'm talking about believing that it actually IS; that your life, your family, your world is hunky-dory-wonderful-and-perfect.  Believing it to the point that any bit of evidence to the contrary is a painful, personal attack. Blame for others and shame for self become reflex reactions, leaving you either lashing out violently or (yes) hiding with your head between your knees in a closet of pain, guilt, and defeat.

Acceptance. Not expecting life to be more this or less that, but living with a mindful awareness of what it actually is.

Replacing expectation with acceptance is, I've come to learn, one practice of healthy living. (more to come)

To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, 
not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive. ~Henri Nouwen

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