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July 28, 2010

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve had to learn in my life is that my way isn’t necessarily the right way or the only way.

Shocker, isn’t it?

The other thing I’ve had to learn is that others can be right even when their right is different from my right.

There is usually more than one right way……

…and the world doesn’t come to an end nor do heaven’s gates slam shut just because someone uses a different right way.

On my spiritual journey, I’ve had to do a lot of allowing: Allowing myself to change my mind about what I believe, allowing myself to realize (and…gasp….ADMIT) that maybe others were right 20 years ago when I thought they were completely wrong, allowing others to remain where they are and not attempt to pull them along on MY journey, allowing them to have an opinion that is different from mine and not attempt to convince them otherwise, and on and on it goes.

It hasn’t been easy, nor all that successful. It’s certainly not in my nature. It has required a lot of patience over the years from those I care about. I can be a real wench when I’m convinced I’m right.

I’ve done a lot of “beating over the head” in my 42 years of life.

I’m pretty sure I started that favorite pastime as soon as I could mutter my first words.

And as I sit back and recognize the many recent changes that have occurred in my ways of thinking, most without my really asking for them, I realize that there is a force in the universe that leads us where each of us needs to go, be, or do at a particular time in life.

Sorting through my mother-in-law’s papers has re-opened my eyes to this. She wielded a mighty pen in the name of traditional Catholicism, right to life legislation, seat belt privacy (there’s a contradiction if I ever saw one), and no sex education in schools. I find myself wavering between a tinge (okay, a LOT) of bitterness (my views are quite different in many ways), and respect for her passions…..allowing her to be what she needed (needs) to be and respecting her own version of rightness.

That same force that I believe opened my eyes to other perspectives  is the force that led me to walk away from a church rather than try to change it. The awareness in my head said very clearly that their ways are right for them and that while I might disagree, it’s not my job to change them. They are beautiful people who do many good things in this world. Leave them alone and let them be.

And so, I did. Sorta.

Yet I have much work left to do on that whole allowing thing. Too often I find myself criticizing their beliefs, methods, procedures, and more. It makes me wonder what’s still at work inside of me if I feel the need to be so defensive about my own beliefs and critical of theirs.

I guess when the time is right, I will be ALLOWED to figure it out.

How’s that allowing thing working for you?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 9:13 AM

    Oh Angie,

    It’s so hard. It’s so hard not to want to drag everyone else along. So hard not to defend our own “rightness”. So hard to just let others be. It’s coming to me in bits and pieces, slowly over a long period of time. My movement was so fast, but the acceptance is so much slower. Part of the key for me I think has been in understanding the developmental process and seeing more clearly the function of the structures I’ve moved beyond. Because they do have functions – sometimes really important ones. And I’m still so far from there. It takes real presence and awareness and concentration to meet each person where they are and be okay with that. And articulating why something no longer works for me but accepting that it still works well for someone else – especially someone I love – is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Keep going… keep searching…. keep increasing your own awareness. One step at a time, and sometimes two steps forward and one step back. It’s worth it.

  2. August 4, 2010 9:33 AM

    My favorite quote on this is C.S. Lewis’s. The last paragraph is the most important one. I call it my Hallways and Doors philosophy. LOL.

    In Mere Christianity’s preface, Lewis says this:

    “I hope no reader will suppose that ‘mere’ Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions–as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: ‘Do I like that kind of service?’ but ‘Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?’

    “When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.”

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