Back in 1997, when I was living on Shaw Island and coping with my mother's death, a woman named Teresa Molitor Luttrell moved to the island with her three children; two daughters and a son, Teddy. Our kids promptly became fast friends, as did we, and though we rarely see one another these days the sense of connection has remained.
This week Teresa, who lost her son Teddy to an aneurysm last summer, posted this talk, which she gave last week at the Northern Lights Spiritual Center in Tukwila, WA.
With her permission, I share it with you: Whatever your faith or belief system, I think her words have something very important to tell each of us.
Sometimes things happen that push us to the very depths of despair. In the aftermath of my son’s death there were only two things I could anchor myself on: that God is all there is, and that God is Good. These two truths, for me, are absolute. And if they are true, the logical progression is that all there is, is Good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Our human definition of Good is ease, comfort and desired outcome, while God’s definition, in my opinion, is that which grows our soul. ‘Growing our soul’, to me, means whatever brings us closer to Unity consciousness. This definition of Good is not always easy, and in fact may feel like tragedy and involve the hardest things we’ve ever encountered.
When we enter into the ‘dark night of the soul’, tools that have worked in the past stop working. When we come up against something we did not want, have prayed to have changed, and the situation pushes us to the absolute limits and strips us down to the barest of essentials, then we are being offered a great gift, an opening and opportunity to move from the second kingdom of consciousness to the third.
Religious Science is really great about helping people move into the second level of consciousness, where we learn we are spiritual beings capable of co-creating with God; this is the realm of ‘done by me’. (The first kingdom is victim consciousness; second ‘done by me’, third ‘thy will be done, through me’; fourth kingdom is Unity consciousness). Sometimes, however, we miss opportunities to begin to move into the third kingdom when difficult challenges are viewed as failures of consciousness because a desired demonstration isn’t made. But what looks like failure is actually an invitation.
Prayer is not always answered with ‘yes’. Spiritual laws exist, but God is beyond law—the creator of Law, but not its subject. An example of prayer being answered with no is Jesus’ prayer in the garden to ‘take this cup from me’. God’s answer was no, because the no was of greater benefit to the growth of Jesus’ soul—the path to complete Unity consciousness. We manifest stuff easily if it supports our growth or makes no difference, but treatment may not work if the particular issue is what will bring us to our knees, break us open--if the no will grow our soul more, through our struggle, surrender and acceptance, than an ease-filled yes.
‘Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.’ --Rumi
The dark night challenges us to our core. Even Jesus cried out, ‘why do you forsake me?’ The dark night is NOT EASY. It is, however, transformative (‘alchemy’ means transformation). Surrendering and accepting opens the door to trusting the Good that God is, allowing It to flow through us, in whatever form it takes. Trusting God allows us to release our illusions of control and our exhausting habits of separation. The Dark Night moves us closer to true realizaton and unification, closer to the revelation of the simple joy of truly living as God in this material world.