Are you rattled?
Not as in riled up because someone has “rattled your cage.” More like out of sorts because life has dealt you a stack of cards you’re not sure how to handle. You know, flummoxed. (Isn’t that a great word?) Discombobulated. (Another great word!). Or just plain at a loss for most everything except a sense of loss. (Ok, let me pause and explain: we’re taking a little hiatus from BRAVING. Not because it’s not good stuff. It is. But because sometimes something else stirs…)
You think you have a plan. You feel that you’ve got a grip. And then a little bit of experience or news comes from out of left field (as we sports buffs say). We go into (as a friend of mine used to say) a “speed wobble” (maybe that’s from racing?). And the plan falls apart. The grip doesn’t hold. And we’re rattled.
Even as these weeks of living in a pandemic stretch on we’re not necessarily getting any more comfortable with it. And the news doesn’t help. A possibly-related illness claiming the lives of the very young?! New symptoms popping up?! Gaining greater understanding about the residual effects of this virus, continued quarantining, required PPE (my learning for the week: personal protective equipment!), only small shifts in businesses when we’d prefer everything the way it once was. Will we ever feel “normal” again? How can we keep our balance when we feel rattled?
Every morning I receive an little piece of wisdom or poetry or theology in an email. Many of them prompt me to reflect. Sometimes wade. Occasionally dive deep beneath the surface. I don’t always know of the persons being quoted. But I like that. Last Saturday’s author was Rachel Naomi Remen, a medical doctor in California. (I looked her up). I appreciated her words so much I wanted to share them with you especially if you are, like I am, feeling rattled these days:
There is often more wisdom to be found at the edges of life than in its middle. Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards. Sometimes a card that has been on the bottom of the deck for most of our lives turns out to be the top card, the thing that really matters. Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride. Most often the top card is love.”
That which matters most. A single word. But not simple. A rich and life-shaping experience. When we feel that our deck of cards has been shuffled by forces out of our hands, we continue to love. We know what it is and from whom it comes. So we return to love. It’s like coming home. Warm. Strong. A sheltering place. Or so Paul believes, “Now faith, hope, and love remain – these three – and the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13).
My deck of cards has just been shuffled. Not in an unexpected way. But not planned either. And I’m a bit rattled. I’ll be in touch. But I’m going home to be with she who brought me into this world as she makes her way into the arms of Eternal Love. Her love was always warm and strong. The top card of her deck. Mine too.