A good friend and trusted mentor told me years ago, “Anna, stand in your own shoes.” That one simple statement grows richer with each passing year. It continues to guide and nourish me. She meant of course that if I wanted to have a fulfilling life, if I wanted to grow, I was going to have to take responsibility for my own life. She was inviting me to learn a profound spiritual truth–serenity and purpose live within. That is the only place they may be found.
Many of us may have spent time thinking that our fulfillment depends upon other people–that if they would just do as we want them to, we would feel good and our lives would work. We may even have spent a portion of our lives trying to change people–to bend them to our will. Further, we may have even been very creative in how we’ve done that! We may have exhorted, preached, cried, whined, gotten angry, manipulated (subtly of course) or given many unsolicited helpful suggestions. However, as much as we might want to change other people, it just doesn’t work. They don’t change. Or if they do, we find much to our disappointment, that we don’t feel any better. There is always the next thing that seems to defeat us.
Yet, when we put the focus on ourselves, looking honestly to know who we are on all levels of our being, something happens. We move from experiencing life as a jolting bumper car rink, complete with the license to deride the other drivers, to a beautiful drive down the seacoast on a sunny day in the company of good friends. As we look to our own lives, we find, yes, some hurts and hardened attitudes that we need to deal with. And, facing these with love, we always discover God. We find a place to stand–our place, in our own shoes. We stand in the grounded wholeness of ourselves–but not by ourselves, for God is there, right within us. And we know at last that life is good.
In the Love and Light of the Christ,