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Our world and our individual lives are in the process of evolving. It is not a question of rejecting the past but of letting the past flow into the present and letting this process guide us as to how to live in the future. – Jean Vanier, “Becoming Human”

Written by Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

Pope John Paul ll, speaking to church leaders about the mission of the church, once said, “We are not here to guard a museum, but rather to tend and nurture a flourishing garden.” These words, spoken by one of the most popular and influential popes in modern history, eloquently describe the importance of having a healthy, positive attitude toward the constant change that is part of our lives. Referring to the church, his words challenge those who want their church, temple, synagogue, or mosque to remain as they have always known it to be, believing that it should not change in any way.

Life moves. It is not the nature of life to be static. Think about it, has your life ever stopped changing? New things, people, and happenings are constantly coming in and out of our lives. We are personally affected by the continual movement and evolution taking place in the world. Sometimes these changes take place slowly, sometimes in the twinkling of an eye. Have you ever had the experience of looking at an old photo of yourself and trying to remember what you were thinking at that time? It is impossible, because you simply are not there anymore. You have changed and moved on from that place and time. And you will continue to change and to move on from where you are now. It is a good idea to come to terms with this most basic, inescapable fact about life: It moves. Whether you realize it or not, this is a very positive truth. Understanding it is crucial because so much of our struggle comes from our resistance to life’s continuous movement into the future.

Sometimes our response to this constant change is to cling inordinately to people or things, those we already know, those who are already a part of our life, the status quo. Fearing the unknown, which is inherent in all change, we try to hold on to what is familiar as we stand before and uncertain future. Doing this, however, comes with a price. In the words of Jean Vanier:

If we try to prevent, or ignore, the movement of life, we run the risk of falling into the inevitable depression that must accompany an impossible goal. Life evolves; change is constant. When we try to prevent the forward movement of life, we may succeed for a while but inevitably, there is an explosion; the groundswell of life’s constant movement, constant change is too great to resist.

In order to live peacefully in an ever-changing world, three things are essential: a healthy detachment, gratitude, and hope. Detachment can be seen as a decrease in our need to hold on to anyone or anything. It is a way of thinking and being that gives us the freedom to flow with life. Detachment gives us the freedom to be open to new possibilities and newness of life after something in our life changes or dies, even when we don’t understand how that newness will come to be.

Without gratitude, detachment is nothing more than indifference. To live with detachment does not mean that we simply forget and move on from the past as though everything old is bad. As stated in the opening quotation, it is a matter of allowing the past, with its enduring life values and principles – openness, love, wholeness, unity, peace, the human potential for healing and redemption, and most important, the necessity of forgiveness- to flow into the present and become integrated into what is happening today.

Likewise, we do not forget the loving people in our lives when they are separated from us by death, changes in circumstances, or when they can no longer serve our needs. Detachment does not mean that we cast aside material things without a thought when we no longer have use for them. Healthy detachment means that we look upon the people and material things of this life with gratitude. We realize that they are gifts received from a loving God, gifts that will ultimately return to God.

It is only possible to practice authentic detachment when we are in a real relationship with the Living God; and such a relationship is always grounded in hope. It is then that we are able to see and appreciate the people and the good things of this life for what they are. When we really believe that it is God who is leading us, it becomes possible to let go of people and things when the time comes to move on in our life’s journey. In this way, hope helps us to truly love and appreciate these people and things, without being possessed by them. As the words of Ecclesiastes teach us, “For everything there is a time.” The nineteenth-century Christian thinker Soren Kierkegaard, in discussing how hope forms the basis for Judaism and Christianity, described hope as “divinely sanctioned optimism, sheer promise for this life.”

Life will continue to move forward, taking us along with it, whether we like it or not. The point is that we need not be carried along kicking and screaming, fretting over and trying to control every change that comes our way. Through a healthy sense of detachment, with gratitude and hope in our hearts, we can choose to enter peacefully into the flow and evolution of life. Strive to accept life’s constant change, trusting in God’s promise and presence to guide you through all of the changes that you experience.

This article is an excerpt fromLiving at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time, by Charles W. Sidoti with Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.

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via Daily Prompt: Mystical

God’s ways are mysterious to us because of our inability to see into the future. We do not have God’s perspective.

Written by Charles W. Sidoti, BCC, / Blog:

Like it or not our lives are unfolding mysteries. I say “like it or not” because sometimes it is very hard to let our lives be a mystery. Often, we would much rather know the outcome of things – now. The old Beatles song “Let It Be” has always held special meaning for me. The wisdom of the song’s message seems to apply especially well in regard to coming to terms with the realm of mystery in our lives. The question is, “Can you…let it be?”

When we talk about the realm of mystery in our lives we are talking about everything and everyone both in this particular moment and beyond. It includes what has already happened in our past and its relationship to what is yet to come. The realm of mystery in our lives is, in large part, about what the future holds for us and for those we love.

Many people, myself included, enjoy a good mystery. The elements of mystery, intrigue, and surprise make for good reading, storytelling, and movies. In fact, without them the stories, movies, and books we enjoy so much would be boring and bland. It is interesting to observe that the very thing we look for in movies and books to make them worthwhile, the element of mystery, is often perceived as threatening to us when it comes to our own life. Mystery, as it unfolds in the life of a character in a movie, we experience as pure joy and entertainment. This is because we have no real stake in the outcome of the story or the fate of the character. Not only do we enjoy the presence of mystery in the movies we watch and the books we read; we are actually healed by it. Perhaps what is so healing about a good mystery novel is that by reading it, by allowing ourselves to be absorbed in the story, we enter a state of being where we accept the element of mystery, or the unknown, in our minds and hearts. Again, because we have no real stake in the outcome of the story, we are not threatened by it, yet we still benefit emotionally from its healing effect.

And yet, so much of our actual lives are an unfolding mystery, in that the future is unknown to us. So the question becomes: How can we begin to transfer some of the acceptance we have for the element of mystery in books and movies into our own lives as we face the very real future?

The first step is to realize that the same “element of mystery” that adds spice to the things we find entertaining also adds spice to our real lives and makes living worthwhile. The more we allow this truth to be integrated into our life, the more we will be able to let life be a mystery. Learning to see the unknown element of your life (the future) no longer as a threat, but as simply the way life is, will allow you to relax. It will enable you to participate, and to respond more freely, to the unfolding mystery that is the story of your life.

Connecting Point: It has been said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” It is absolutely true. God’s ways are mysterious to us because of our inability to see into the future. We do not have God’s perspective. Just for today, try to believe that God is doing God’s part in your life in ways that, at least for now, may be unknown to you. Believe that, eventually, God’s unseen work will be made known to you. Realize, however, that it may only be in hindsight that you are able to see it; and that is something to look forward to!

Prayer: Lord, it is hard to wait, especially when I feel alone and confused. Help me to respond with enough trust in you to allow some measure of mystery in my life. Help me to learn to live with the uncertainty that is a naturally occurring part of life, as unsettling as it is. In those times, help me to really believe that you are at work in my life in ways yet unknown to me, and to trust in your work on my behalf. Help me to be patient. Amen.


God s time often differs from our time says the author, and in this compelling book (written with Rabbi Akiva Feinstein), he provides spiritual insights about how to cope with constant change and the worry about the future that comes with it.

God s time often differs from our time says the author, and in this compelling book (written with Rabbi Akiva Feinstein), he provides spiritual insights about how to cope with constant change and the worry about the future that comes with it.

This article is an excerpt from “Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time.A Traditionally Published Book – Get it on Amazon $14.95:

By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  (Matthew 6:21).  Of all the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament, I think this is one of the most clear and direct.  The words of Catholic author Robert J. Wicks echo the same message when he says, “Tell me what you think about most of the time and I’ll tell you who your God is.”

In pondering where my own treasure lies, I found myself thinking about my personal prayer time.  I asked myself, “Is my personal prayer time the place where my heart’s treasure is supposed to be?”  If it is, then there is a problem. While I definitely find consolation in prayer and consider it a most essential part of my life, I often find it difficult.  It is hard to make time for prayer.  Perhaps you can relate to this.  As soon as I decide that I am going to pray, something else comes to my mind that I just have to do immediately.  Some days my time for personal prayer never happens because I do the activity that came to my mind instead.  At other times prayer can seem dry and barren, not filled with consolation at all.

I sometimes think, “Is prayer supposed to be like this? Why does it often feel like such a chore?”  But I have come to see this struggle in a different way.  If our relationship is to be with the “Living God” and not some distant, imagined (pie-in-the-sky) god then it truly must be this way.  Think about it: If sitting alone in prayer were always easy, if it were always filled with peace and consolation, it probably would be all we would want to do.  Our participation in life and our involvement with other people would decrease dramatically, and we would not seek God there. The difficulty I find in personal prayer, I have come to see as God’s way of directing me back into the activity of daily life.  God is present there as well as in my personal prayer time.

Don’t misunderstand. Our personal prayer time is critically important, and you and I need to persevere in it.  We will receive enough consolation from it to keep us coming back.  But we also need to realize that the dryness and emptiness we at times experience in our prayer time is normal.  It is in reality the best spiritual direction we will ever receive, provided that we interpret it correctly and don’t become too discouraged.  remember that God chooses to come to us not only in our personal prayer time, but also in the midst of your daily activity, especially in the relationships we have with other people.

The realization that the dryness I experience in prayer is God’s way of directing me to pay attention to what’s happening in my daily life has completely changed the way I see my day.  The lesson here is to know that is to know that whether you are engaged in your personal time for prayer, or in the midst of your daily activities, God is present in that place.  As you gradually learn to seek God in daily life as well as during your specifically dedicated “prayer time,” you will realize that it is possible to fulfill the scriptural directive to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) because your “life” will have become a prayer.

Connecting Point:  What is the desire of your heart? Ponder the statement:
“Tell me what you think about most of the time and I’ll tell you who your God is.”

PrayerLord, open my mind that I may live in such a way that knowing and loving you may truly become the the desire of my heart.  Thank you for the desire that you have given me to pray to you in moments of solitude.  May I also realize that you reveal your presence to me in the activities of my daily life. Open my heart to your presence in my daily activities so that my everyday life may become a prayer.  Amen.

This article is from my book “Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time” 

Read the Introduction, Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter on Twenty Third Publications website:

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