Thursday, June 4, 2015

Recovery: You had those ruby slippers all along

Spiritual awakening-- made possible by a loving God
Ever since Dorothy's farmhouse landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy had the vaunted ruby slippers- and the way home- already available to her.

She could have returned home anytime she wanted, good witch Glinda finally revealed. It would have made for a very short movie if Glinda had divulged earlier. 

Half asleep, we mouth affirmations and sing those songs with their baby pablum-like words that loop around without end.  Does it all function as the counterpart of wearing the mysterious slippers? Are we totally unaware of the gift and possibility they bring?

We go back to find our way home, because it's in the beginning that God created us in God's image and likeness. There nothing to be added or deleted to make that any more - or less- true. This was true when God called us out darkness into light and life, and it is true to this moment.   
A beautiful parallel to this affirmation in the Gospel is when Jesus declares that we are light. He doesn't say we have to get something else, be someone else, or out- do everyone else in order to be light. John Claypool, the well known Southern Baptist turned Episcopalian author and preacher, once wrote, "It ... dawned on me that the secret of life is not getting something from the outside by achieving and competing. It is, rather, getting what is already inside outside by acceptance and self- giving."  
Maybe we have heard more about how we do not measure up, how we need to be more like someone else, how we are not worthwhile without something more to do or be. We can easily exhaust ourselves through reacting to others, people pleasing, placating others, and needing to be needed.
We may think we can fix and heal the sick and needy people in our life. But being focused entirely on others blinds us to our own gifts and needs, even our flaws. Instead, we move farther away from self awareness and acceptance. Those traits only obscure the way home.

The core of the Gospel is, now and always, God's acceptance of us, the way to our true and best self, the ruby slippers we had overlooked all along. We can start the journey now and don't have to wait for the end of the movie, like Dorothy did.     

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