Freeing butterflies

Image courtesy of thawats/

I realized as I listened to the sermon in church this morning that a good deal of my life has been spent on spiritual waiting.  In terms of my own spiritual development, God has been doing most of the waiting for me to realize, begin to understand, and begin to accept the gift of immeasurable love that has always been waiting for me.

In regards to my career, I realized most of what I have done as a psychiatric nurse and professor has been to plant seeds. I realized that the majority of my professional time has actually been spent practicing spiritual waiting for the seeds to grow in God’s time following God’s plan rather than my own.

I realized I spent most of yesterday worrying about two friends, one who is suffering from depression and the other from addiction relapse. I know intellectually I cannot “fix” their situations, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting things to be better for them. I have to accept my role as a supportive friend is one of spiritual waiting. I can offer human caring and support, but the active healing process for both friends is between them and the God of their choosing. I can suggest tools, options, and opinions—-but it is up to each individual to make his or her own decisions and to travel his or her own spiritual pathway.

During the sermon (I still use the old “protestant terms” I grew up with; my apologies to my Episcopalian friends and colleagues) the priest also talked about passion and the different meanings that concept can have. The one we are most familiar with is the one that has to do with strong emotions and/or lust. We are also familiar with having intense passion for specific activities or objects. An example of the latter, would be my newly found passion of trying to communicate my spiritual journey and thoughts in written words.

Then, there is the religious meaning associated with  Christ’s death. At this point that the sermon went into new territory for me. It seems Christ’s passion was not only the suffering type most often alluded to in sermons. It was also composed of two other variants of passion. One type of passion occurs when one is powerless and cannot control what is happening to him or her. Twelve step recovery has taught me quite a bit about that one—–as has being a patient at Barnes Jewish Hospital numerous times. I have thought about Christ’s painful suffering, but never of Christ being unable to control what happened immediately prior to and during his crucifixion. The fact that Jesus was incarnated in human form would support that his human form was powerless and could not control what was happening. I will be doing some extensive thinking about this variant.

The last variant discussed in terms of Christ’s passion was that having to do with  the “handing over” of something. It seems that the word betrayal can also mean handing over….as Christ was by Judas prior to his crucifixion.  The priest also implied that Christ “handed over” his spirit to God when he said, “It is finished.” For the first time ever, I realized perhaps betrayal is necessary for positive outcomes to occur.  With that thought came  the realization that what I had always considered a negative betrayal prior to my last divorce was instead the impetus for a good deal of spiritual growth which otherwise might not have occurred. It forced me to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I have been learning to fly as a free spirit of God. I have had many lessons to strengthen my “butterfly wings.” At that moment in church this morning, a small kernel of gratitude was planted in my heart.  I am finally able to fully release the hurt and truly forgive the one who betrayed me because he actually set me free.