Spiritual Insights for the Long Haul

March 17, 2011

Spiritual Insights for the Long Haul

In 2001, I participated in a class at the Servant Leadership School in Washington, DC – the following is adapted from a paper on discerning God’s will:

I am drawn by the idea of surrender to God’s will, but the pull on my will, and my consciousness is often from all the “good” things I expect of myself, and perceptions of what I must do as the mother of Brian, my son who is a brain injury survivor. What of these activities that occupy me are God’s will and what are my own plans, my own agenda, or even the world’s agenda? I walk three miles daily with friends, I enjoy work in my flower beds, tending each green miracle emerging from the soil in the spring season. My husband and I attend classes at the community college. I’m making plans for a hiking adventure in Utah with a friend. Yoga class once a week. Volunteer usher at Arena Stage. As for our son Brian, we have daily communication with his two assistants, we complete paperwork as his guardians, we respond to broken items (the toilet, his walker, the armrest on his wheelchair), we research better housing for him, and agonize over Virginia politics as it affects Brian’s options. And I’ve yet to mention our other four adult children (and three spouses), our granddaughter, our two foster grandchildren or my 88 year old mother.

Let me look at my day yesterday – was I doing God’s will or my own? Can I look with the eye of God, a loving mother-father God, who embraces me as the beloved? Yesterday’s main event was accompanying my son Brian and his daytime assistant to a day program organized for people with mental illness. I was as calm as possible during this visit, with my mind and body rested, my internal barometer set at a balance between posiitive thinking and detachment. When there is a new opportunity for Brian, I am tempted to drag along with me a string of failed attempts, clouding my attitude for the present. How would mother God have seen me in the day? Not as failing once again to find the right program for my son… rather she would have praised me (and Brian) for loving perseverance, and for courage to begin again.

Here is a poem given to me by another mother I met at a brain injury conference many years ago.


Fragile as a spider’s web
Hanging in space
Between tall grasses,
It is torn again and again,

A passing dog
Or simply the wind can do it.
Several times a day
I gather myself together
And spin it again.

Spiders are patient weavers.
They never give up.
And who knows
What keeps them at it?
Hunger, no doubt,
And hope.

May Sarton

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