People I know are seeking and finding new opportunities, and I am mostly so happy for them. They are leaving, moving forward, and growing, and I am not. I’m a bird in a nest when everyone else is flying and I am left picking at straw. Sometimes watching them makes me cranky and jealous, and then guilty and needy. God knows the cycle well. He’s all like, Kerry, not this again and do you need me to show you how BLESSED you are and I’m like, yes. Again, please.
The idea that that everyone is going places while I am staying still is pure illusion, I know. God just doesn’t work that way. He plants and sows, and there are things in process for me and for you which are right around the corner, right under the surface that we just can’t see yet. When we do, we will be amazed and grateful and tell ourselves that next time we will definitely trust when things again seem uncertain. I’ve seen this pattern in my own life over and over, so why can’t I trust it while in the midst of transition?
Without the faulty lens of my ego, I can see clearly who God made me to be. I’m a mother, I sing, I write, and I teach. I feel in my gut that one of those is the branch I should step out onto next. And I mean step out in a scary new way, like the branch will wobble and may even break. But since I’m not sure which branch I should make my way toward, I’m frozen here on the tree, watching other birds fly, and I hate it.
What might become of me if, in this moment, in this tree, I quieted my annoying, all-encompassing song and just sat? What if I closed my eyes and just let myself be warmed by the sun and asked for direction instead of warbling? Surely God, who made me and loves me more than I love myself, would guide me onto some sunny branch from where I would one day, fly. Right?
Author’s note: I left this piece of writing behind right here and went to yoga, where God had more to say about living among the trees.
As I was in shivasana, I was asking God how to fight these villains of pride and ego that trip me up so often, and how to finally move past them in order to live the humble and Him-centered life I am called to which will bring me the peace, happiness, and purpose I seek. His answer came in my teacher’s reading from Mary Oliver, and of course it was much simpler and gentler than the knots I had wound around myself. As it turns out, it’s not up to me to fight, but just to be. Really. Mary said it best.
When I Am Among Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world,
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call out again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”
Walk slowly. Bow often. Go easy. Be filled with light and shine.
Or as Jeremiah said,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Maybe it really is that simple. Trusting. Oh Lord, one day I’ll get it.