Excerpt from Chapter Nine
Our torments eventually bring us to a place of trust—in the divine, in the universe, in the unnamed One, in Life. This trust is not the naive notion that we will be spared hardships and disappointments. Rather, it is the hard-earned trust that comes from glimpsing the consecrated journey for which we were created.
Most of us have photos of ourselves as happy babies, much like the one of my toddler self smiling with my new dolly in front of the Christmas tree. As infants, we didn’t think about love; we simply knew it. Then, as we began to walk life’s craggy terrain, our knowing of love slipped into the shadows of our experience . . . and fear emerged.
Much of our life journey is about searching for this early love, this Perfect Love. More often than not, our most effective guides are those that figuratively and literally push us up against the wall. Health crises and sometimes devastating circumstances provide us with opportunity after opportunity to address our fear through the choices before us—freedom or enslavement, self-value or self-depreciation, love or hate, trust or despair.
Our unlikely and unwanted teachers goad us to make decisions that ultimately help us rediscover the love that has always awaited us. This love is not the transient love nurtured with flowers and layered in sweet dreams. It is the phoenix love that arises from the ashes of our struggles to free our hearts and give us glee. This powerful love overshadows storybook fantasies and late-night reveries. It casts out all fear and walks with us through the maze of our misperceptions to a place of compassion and reconciliation. Though it may take a lifetime, we relearn what it means to bask in the love we knew when we were just toddlers.
Gwendolyn M Plano spent her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in New York, Connecticut and California. She has multiple academic degrees, including one in Theology and one in Counseling. Recently Gwen retired, and she now devotes herself to writing, travel, volunteer work, and her beautiful grandchildren.
Find Gwen online!