Like many others, I’ve experienced a lot of losses, disappointments, and instability in the past year or two, and the future remains uncertain in many ways. On my own, I can sink into fear and worry. I can get anxious about things, with churning stomach and restless sleep. I try so hard to control the life that I think I’m in control of, when clearly, I am not!
In the midst of it, I’ve turned again and again to my faith. When I sit in the presence of God, I am reminded that even though I am unworthy, imperfect, scarred and broken, I am perfectly loved in every moment and I always have been. I am held in warmth, and gently guided on my path. Even when there is death in its many forms, we have a God of resurrection and life, waiting to lead us out of the tomb. Isn’t that what this season of Easter is all about?
I’ve been reinforcing this belief by utilizing a breath practice I learned from James Finley. Sitting in stillness, I become aware of my breathing. Then I consciously and deeply inhale the unbelievable, undeserved, and total love that God has for me. When I slowly blow the breath out, I breathe myself in trust and surrender into the arms of that love. In and out, in and out. Over and over the cycle repeats, until my every breath is the giving and receiving of God’s presence and love.
It is such a calming and centering practice. I experience what Jesus taught – that I am the branch, and it is only by staying connected to the vine that I can bear fruit. It is only by turning over my fears and trusting in the vine-grower that I know I will be OK. No matter what happens, no matter what is taken away or given to me, no matter how I am pruned or what tomb I may have to enter, I am a beloved daughter of God and I, in the deepest and truest part of me, will be OK.
It is hard to maintain that level of trust! I keep coming back to wanting certainty, wanting control, wanting things to be how I wish them to be. I continually need to reconnect to the vine and draw life from there. God will not leave me alone. God has guided me, sustained me, and been at my side my entire life. So many little miracles surround me when I am willing to see.
How do you stay connected to the vine? What can you do to surrender the control that honestly you don’t really have anyway? As you look back on your life, where do you see God’s guiding hand and little miracles? Perhaps you can make one small change today to recommit yourself to knowing the love of God deep in your heart, and turning yourself over to the One in whom you live and move and have your being, the one true Vine.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.