What was I writing the other week about serendipity and things creeping up when you most need them?
I haven’t written a Wholehearted Living post for… a month and a half? How did that happen? But never mind: here I was today, prone on the settee and watching Anne with an E, wondering what I could do to add something to my life today… when I remembered that I hadn’t actually finished the Wholehearted Living series I started in February.
So I turned to the book, opened to the right page, and found out that the next chapter is entitled “Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty”. If ever there was a time to release the need for certainty, it’s in a world where all of a sudden one small virus has turned our ambitions upside down. Turned our lives upside down, created uncertainty, completely sideswiped the Modern Way. People are looking at life now and wondering if the old system can ever really return. That, for me, is a question for another day.
I’ve noticed people, even the most straightforward of them, needing to place their faith in something beyond, requesting prayers, beginning to add provisos on to plans. We’ve lost our certainty. We’re seeking faith in the future instead.
Brené Brown defines faith as
“A place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty”.
There is no certainty, no absolutes ever in life, and especially not at the moment.
I’m a strong woman: I can face a host of worries and fears, dangers and monsters and reason my way out of them, but last week I was facing my deepest fear, that of being seriously ill, without any way of making sense of it. I believe I have had coronavirus, with the symptoms that we’ve been told to look out for: temperature, persistent and new cough without any phlegm, aches and pains and an overwhelming sense of fatigue. It started gently enough and, thank heavens/God/Goddess/life, has started to wane now after almost two weeks, but there was a point mid-week when I was watching my symptoms with real concern. Did I have pain in my lungs? Were the coughs getting stronger? Was my breath beginning to become shallower?
One part of my brain had me wrapped up, dead and buried before I knew it, the other had me in hospital, wired up and beeping for dear life. I’m not sure any part of me was thinking straight enough to talk sense to myself: that the odds were mostly in my favour, that I wasn’t that bad actually, just ill, and that will mostly be just normal for most people with Coronavirus.
If anybody had offered me the chance to know *for certain* that I would live or die, I’d have bitten their hand off. It wasn’t until last Thursday, when I felt a little better and decided that today was not the day I died, that I could grab hold of my inner invalid and give it a stiff talking to… illness is all very well, but you’re not plotting the course yourself, just following where you’re taken. You can do your utmost to improve the course by living a healthy life, eating well, sleeping well and stressing less, but ultimately the course of your life is beyond your control.
Like Brené, I found the serenity prayer was what I needed:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
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