Do you ever have a day where you feel like every single moment has been specifically designed to teach you something?
Today has been full of reminders of just how very fortunate I am. Things that make me feel as though for one reason or another I have been blessed with an amazingly beautiful life.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about it today. Specifically thinking about that word...blessed, and all of it's connotations.
Everyone knows that there are a few topics that are guaranteed hot buttons. Topics best avoided, unless you are prepared to deal with arguments, hurt feelings, rage, etc. I am not a huge fan of conflict, so I tend to avoid those topics as much as possible.
Not today. Today I feel like I need to share some of my personal beliefs. I don't know if it's just because I need to think out loud, if I'm looking for people to back me up, or if I'm just plain crazy...but here I am, whatever the reason may be.
First of all, let me say that I don't consider myself to be a religious person. Actually, I pretty much steer as far clear of organized religion as I can. I struggle with the whole "if you don't believe exactly what I believe then you are destined to spend an eternity burning in hell" thing. I don't understand that frame of mind...at all. I can't comprehend how anyone could possibly believe that they have it all figured out.
"Well, it's all written plain as day in this book here. See?!"
Nope. Sorry. I don't see. I see a book (books with an s actually if we're going to be completely candid) that was written by men thousands of years ago that has as many interpretations as it has chapters. I see a book of stories that exist to teach lessons...stories much the same as Aesop's fables.
Does that mean that I don't believe in God? Maybe? The honest answer is that I'm really not sure.
I believe that there are many, many things about life that I simply can not explain. Things that I don't feel science has been able to explain up to this point either. I would like to believe that our existence on this planet has a purpose, but I certainly would never be pompous enough to think that I could begin to understand what that purpose might be.
I believe that there is some sort of "force" that surrounds us all. You can call it God if you want, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Yahweh...I really don't care. To me it doesn't have a name. It just IS.
I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe that prayer works. I get hung up on that word too...prayer. That's another word that is just loaded with connotations, isn't it? How can you say you aren't religious, but you believe in the power of prayer? Don't those two statements contradict each other? Possibly, but not in my mind. To me prayer is just a word for sending positive vibes out into the universe...into that mysterious, unnamed force.
I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you. I don't think that necessarily means that people who are suffering have done something horrible to bring the suffering upon themselves. I think that sometimes we have to suffer in order to learn, and to fully appreciate the good in life.
When people tell me about things happening in their life that are causing them distress I do the only thing that I know how to do. I tell them that I am here for them, and then I pray. I pray that everything works out the way that it is meant to, and that somehow no matter what happens they are able to come to terms with the results as quickly as possible so that they can move on and be happy in their lives.
I've been thinking about these beliefs all day. Thinking about how fortunate I am to have never truly suffered a day in my life. One look at my twitter timeline is all it takes to reaffirm that notion. There is just so much suffering in the world. It's heart breaking to even think about it.
I've been thinking about all of the people in the world who are truly struggling just to survive, and putting my own private struggles into perspective. When I think of all of those people, and think about my own life and how carefree and easy it has always been comparatively, it seems next to impossible to deny that I have blessed beyond measure.
I can't pretend to know why, and I don't think that I should even question it. I think that the only thing that I can do is be grateful for all that I have been given, and find some way to pay it forward.
I would love to hear what some of you do in your lives to give thanks for your own blessings.
Be well, be kind, and smile lots