When it became clear that I would not be abandoning the blog for the season of Advent (I had thought I'd just post the readings, as I did last year), I decided that I would continue my morning readings as usual but that I would post the day's reflection on the Gospel of Thomas before doing the other two blogs, in case it might have some bearing on the day's thoughts.
So this morning I had thought to post this passage from Richo's Five Things We Cannot Change:
Feelings are bodily reactions that are the healthy built-in technologies for dealing with life's jolts. Our feelings are the healthy devices nature has given us so we can be stirred to resolving problems, creating new solutions, and inventing helpful alternatives. In other words, nature made us feel so we could evolve... Confronted with any given of life, I may ask, "How can this stretch me?"
I loved this take on emotion, because so often feelings -- which Richo calls SAFE: Sadness, Anger, Fear and Exuberance -- become minefields or traps I tend to want to avoid. I think of myself as fairly comfortable with feelings on one level, but on another I'm more like a guy: I'd just as soon avoid them.
Which is why, when I went looking through my Florida images, this one (which was actually taken by my brother-in-law, because I couldn't get a good angle on it driving past, and handed him my camera) jumped out. All I could see when I looked at it was that someone was so desperately afraid of sinking that they went to extraordinary lengths to stay afloat on the surface of things.
But of course there's another way of looking at it: this could be an example of the incredible ingenuity people put into play when they are determined to survive, progress, or get to the other side of a challenging situation.
But once I chose this image, I remembered my commitment to do the Thomas post first -- and there it all seemed to come together. The poem I had written there was -- surprise, surprise -- all about feeling trapped by feelings, and about how the feelings themselves can set us free: which is, of course, what Richo was saying. Our reactions to the difficult and sometimes frightening situations in our lives are actually a means for growth, and though the extraordinary measures we employ to avoid them may seem at some times bizarre, it's also possible that the creativity we're putting into play actually propels us forward to some new shore.
"Long story short?" (as my other brother-in-law would say) -- It's all good!