Nestled in the midst of 10,000 areas of forest atop the Cumberland Plateau is the University of the South fondly referred to as Sewanee. Two distinct lifestyles live in harmony and create an environment that June and I return to during the holiday season.
The students of the University and all the activities surrounding it offer a vibrant lifestyle that is youthful and filled with excitement. Equally exciting is the serenity of the setting with the forest, nature trails, and natural beauty. It is within this setting that my desire to write and be self-expressive emerges. In doing so I realize that my reflections are not the work of a single day, person or incident. They were born during many hours of conversations, intimacy and prayful conversations. I write about such times hoping they will bear fruit not only in lives of those who took part in these conversations but also in the lives of the people who will spend a few minutes with this blog.
The story is told and appears in most books of Psychology, about an elderly woman brought to a psychiatric center. She was wild, swinging at everything in sight, and frightening everyone so much that the doctors had to take everything away from her. But there was one small coin that she gripped in her fist and would not give up. In fact, it took two people to pry open that clenched hand. It was as though she would lose her very self along with the coin. If they deprived her of that last possession, she would have nothing more and be nothing more. That was her fear.
This example is often played out time and time again in people’s lives. Individuals are holding on to bitterness, hate, jealousy, disappointment and the desire for revenge. The mind becomes Saturn’s workshop. These feelings are not unique to any one person. You live through them and pretend it doesn’t bother you…….until the moment when you become still and the mind begins to flood with thoughts. These feelings are not just there, you clutch them in your hands as if they were treasures you don’t want to let go. You sit wallowing in all the old feelings as if you couldn’t do without them, as if, in giving them up, you would lose your very self. Like the woman with the coin.
Recently I observed the above referenced situation. My immediate response was “you have to forgive and let go.” It is possible to open your hands and your heart without fear, so the One who loves you can blow your sins away. Then the coins that you considered indispensible for your life prove to be little more than light dust which a soft breeze will whirl away, leaving only a grin or a chuckle behind.
May this Thanksgiving provide for you a time of reflection that will bring peace.