Wednesday, May 20, 2015
When running in circles is a good thing . . .
"You cannot outgive God." - unknown
"Skepticism is the beginning of faith." - Oscar Wilde
A big revelation came to me a few years back when I was sitting in an intensive care unit with a critically injured friend. I had been told he was not going to live through the night, so there I sat in a room utterly quiet but for the clicks and beeps of the large array of life support equipment. In the middle of the night it dawned on me that at this stage of the game all this fellow had was what he had given to others. It also struck me that he had not given very much. So I resolved that from that point forward I we merely a steward of the things that came into my life and that from then on I would give freely of whatever is in my possession. What I have found, time after time, is that you cannot out-give God.
Since that occasion, I have done much work to clear the noise out of my head so I can hear that intuitive voice and be of service in the ways that God wants me to. I give a recent illustration of the circles of giving that result when we realize these things and take action on the intuitions we are given.
I drove past a restaurant in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and had that intuitive feeling that I was supposed to stop there. I turned around, drove back, went in and asked if I could use the Wifi. They gave me the password and let me use the end of the bar. Before I was done writing that days article they closed, but told me they would leave on the Wifi and let me use the upper deck. (Which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Croatan Sound on the other.)
The next day I felt moved to do an article on what it take to run a restaurant in a summer vacation area, as the area I was in gets very little traffic besides the three summer months. So I returned and interviewed the owners, which actually turned into a long conversation about how their spirituality has evolved, their relationship with God and all the things they are grateful for.
In the process of this conversation a woman with a small child in her arms hesitantly approached us. It turns out it was a waitress who was supposed to be coming in later that day for her first day on the job. She said that she had a conflict with care for the child, and she would be fifteen minutes late, that she hated that but would it be ok? The owners said it was fine, the woman looked relieved and left.
Later, as I sat editing photos a couple visiting from Pennsylvania sat down beside me. The were upset because they had to return the next day and couldn't see the lighthouses because of the rain. I asked them if they would like to see every lighthouse from Nags Head to Florida, and then showed them each one along with photos of the people who care for them and old stories about them. They asked about my work, so I showed them what I am doing. When they left the woman hugged me and gave me ten dollars. "It isn't much," she said, "but I want you to have it." I only had a couple of dollars and needed both cigarettes and gas, but as soon as she handed it to me I knew I was supposed to give the $10 to the new waitress.
That evening I was interviewing a local vacation rental property business owner on the upper deck, and the new waitress asked if she could get us anything. It was still raining and we were her only customers. We got an iced tea, and after our meeting concluded I got up to go to another meeting I was attending. It gave me the chance to give the new waitress the $10.
Late that evening I returned to edit that days photos and write. I sat up on the upper deck and as I got ready to start working, the woman who owns the restaurant brought me a huge plate of food, a pitcher of water and a greeting card.
On the inside of the card it says: "Please use us as your "homebase" while here in the Outer Banks - Rest and let us fill your water and cook for you." Inside the card was a $100 bill.
I want to make it clear that this story is not about money. I share this circumstance because it illustrates the bigger picture so clearly - when God asks us to give and we listen, we are repaid ten times over. In this case because it is money it is easy to quantify the repayment. When we are following God's will, what is asked of us doesn't usually involve money. We are asked to give kindness, an empathetic ear, understanding, solace, encouragement or more often assistance of one form or another, and were are given back the same many times over. Usually, the circle doesn't close this quickly or apparently. But the circle always closes.
The important thing is that we follow the intuitive nudges with action and without using the occasion to put conditions on things or develop expectations. Then we watch the long term outcome of our decision with a discerning eye and and see if what others have told us about the spiritual path is true. And for me, constant skeptic and previously staunch atheist, consistent demonstrations of that power at work over a long period of time have been the only path there could have been for me to attain the trust and faith I enjoy today.
Today, may I follow the nudges.
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Have an awesome day !!