A couple of stories on the power of trust in the universe – but also the necessity of resignation to its will. The first of these stories was told directly to me by one of the people concerned. I am recalling it from memory some years after it was related to me, but I am certain that the essential facts are correct.
Many years ago, the eldest son of some friends of mine woke up in the morning paralysed from the waist down. After a short time – a matter of hours, I believe – he recovered mobility and was taken to hospital where tests were carried out, and a diagnosis made. The boy had a serious degenerative disease that threatened to make him permanently paralysed by a young age. My friends are devout Catholics and so were firm believers in resignation to the will of God. However, the father of the boy – let’s call him Trevor – was far better at practising this than the mother, “Fiona”. Trevor kept his cool all the way through the ordeal and attempted to convince Fiona to do the same. After all, the worst thing that could possibly happen was that they would have to bring up one of their children in a wheelchair. This would be a trial, no doubt – but a meritorious one, and hardly an onerous one in the scale of things. But Fiona was adamant that the boy would walk. While both parents prayed fervently for him, Trevor prayed with resignation while Fiona prayed with determination. She was convinced that her prayers would be heard and stubbornly declared that nothing short of a full recovery would suffice.
Weeks went by and there was no change in the situation. Fiona continued her prayers, but became anxious. Trevor saw her distress and attempted to swing her around to his calmer, more resigned view. In desperation, Fiona prayed a prayer of resignation, accepting whatever her God had in store for their son.
I seem to recall it being a day later, but certainly it was no longer than a week that the boy was taken back to the hospital for further tests. The doctors admitted – with a certain degree of embarrassment – that they could find absolutely nothing wrong with him. With all thought of miracles off the table, they were at a loss to explain the conflicting test results.
If we expect ordinary results, sometimes mere trust isn’t enough. Sometimes complete, utter abandonment to the providence of the universe is what’s required. The truth of this is seen in the many stories of people who received enlightenment or some great miracle only after a complete breaking down of their existing self and surrender to a higher power. Sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn.
This truth was demonstrated to me in my days of full time office work. I had been on a self-imposed hiatus for 6 months to work on some other projects, but was starting to run out of money. I had no access to government benefits and could barely score an interview, let alone an actual job. One of the few interviews I did manage was a group intake of 10 people, which received 800 total applications. I didn’t get the job. I seemed to only ever score an interview if it was a group intake, and these seemed a waste of time as they were always those over-enthusiastic fake group interviews where they feed you jellybeans, make you wait around on beanbags and ask you ridiculous questions like “if you were a cartoon character, who would you be?” I always failed at those as they could see me gritting my teeth whenever I smiled. I eventually succeeded at one, only to be told I had to come all the way into the recruitment office to complete a timed 2 hour psychological assessment. For a job that paid $50,000 a year by the way – I wasn’t applying to be chief of the air force or anything. In the end they never rang me back anyway, which was partially a relief.
Still, my anxiety increased daily as I eroded my savings and then began to chip away at my credit limit. I confidently told other people about the abundance and providence of the universe, but it’s not always an easy thing to heed your own words when you’re $2,000 in debt on your credit card without a single possible means of generating the income to pay it off. Eventually though, I came to a profound realisation – everything else in my life had worked out to that point. I’d stared down the barrel of disaster many times before, but never been shot. It could easily have happened otherwise, but somehow, by means or someone or something, I had been protected. And I knew right then that I would continue to be so protected.
I was in the supermarket pushing a trolley full of groceries around, wondering how on earth I was going to pay back the credit card I was buying them on. And I surrendered to whatever had provided me with such profound protection to date. My exact thoughts were “oh well, even if I have to use up my entire $10,000.00 credit limit, pay full interest on it all and sell my beloved camera, something will work out. And even if I wasted a bit of money in the process, a year or two from now I’ll have bought another camera and will look back and wonder what on Earth I was so anxious about. The chance that I will starve or my whole life will collapse is literally nil.”
The following day, one of the agencies I’d been dealing with rang me. They were impressed with my performance in a previous interview, and although I didn’t get that particular job, they wanted me to start work at an insurance company the following week. No further interview required, no psychological tests. No jellybeans.
No, I didn’t compress the timeframe for the sake of the story, or make any other embellishments – it really did happen the following day. If my surrender had occurred during business hours, perhaps it would have happened the same day.
If you’re still caught up in worry or you’re fed up waiting for the universe to intervene in a longstanding case where no progress seems to be made, this may be the small move that makes all the difference. No-one knows with certainty how these things work, but the classic New Thought view is something like this: if we stubbornly hold to a particular outcome, the energy of our stubbornness blocks other options from entering our field. Somewhat paradoxically, once we lose the resistant energy, we often find our preferred option is the one that manifests, or an even better one that we hadn’t foreseen.
Or perhaps the universe consciously withholds things from us in order to teach us the simple, profound lesson that everything is OK – we are safe and are being taken care of.
Either way, it works.