I recently heard this incredibly beautiful poem from Ingrid Goff-Maidoff that caused me to stop and see how I was living.
God spoke today in flowers,
and I, who was waiting on words,
almost missed the conversation.
Aside from the beauty in the sheer simplicity of this poem, the stunning truth shook me to the core. She has captured here the tragedy we live so much of our life in – not seeing the beauty in what is because of what we are expecting.
Our tendency to miss much in life is centered on our expectations of how things “should” be. We wait and wait for things to show up in our desired form and become more and more frustrated that they haven’t come. All the while there is beauty and perfection all around us that we are not seeing.
We, of course, do this with God often. We pray and get frustrated when our requests don’t come when we want them to. Often, we are so tied to “how” we want our prayers answered that we don’t see the possibility in what is coming our way. We are waiting for God to speak to give us peace, instead of seeing the message in the flowers. The divine plan, however, is much more beautiful and complex than the human brain can comprehend.
I often sit in awe reflecting on even the most minuet details in my life and seeing how different everything would have been if things were shifted just slightly. Every aspect of my life has lead to this exact second to be unfolding exactly how it is, especially those moments I didn’t like so much. I wanted certain things and have them, but never would have expected them to come the way they did. This is the beauty of being open to possibility and seeing what is in our path, instead of trying to design every minute.
We don’t only do this with God, however, we also do this with people in our lives. We are always trying to get someone to react the way we want them to or see things our way. One of my favorite lines in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is that we ask ”Grant that I may not so much seek… to be understood, as to understand”. We sometimes forget that no one on this earth perceives things exactly like we do. We all have different experiences that lead to how we think and act. We may find many that agree with us, but they don’t see it “exactly” as we do. Instead of trying to understand them, we want them to understand (and act) as we do. The world would be a very boring place if this wish came true.
Unfortunately our partners and family often get the brunt of this. How often do we get upset with a partner because they didn’t show us love in a particular way? The gift wasn’t thoughtful enough, they didn’t respond right to our concern, or they weren’t making us feel loved. All the while, we miss the subtle ways that they show us love, in their way. We are so busy looking at how we feel, we miss seeing how they are giving.
The shift from seeing the possibility of what is, versus living in our head of expectations can create a brand new world for us. It takes really no time, just awareness of our thoughts and the intent of seeing things as they are, while letting go as we expect them to be.
Be open to what is now – a simple, yet beautiful practice that will ensure we do not miss the conversation.