One of the most maddening things about the therapist I worked with in my 20s was her unwavering trust in my process. There was no edge of impatience to her listening. No worry.
I felt tied into so many knots through that season that I wished she’d be scandalized by at least *one* of them enough to push me hard toward detanglement. “Fix me!” I practically cried.
But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t because she knew (or at the very least trusted) that my life was unfolding exactly as it should. That my being there was change enough. That my own wisdom and dreams were speaking every day to me, and her role was to witness, to mirror, to help me parse the language of my soul.
I think there are many ways to help, and sometimes more directive means than the ones my therapist employed can be useful.
But there is a deeply transformative power to unwavering trust – whole new worlds this opens up inside of us – and, maddening as it was at the time, I’m grateful to this day for the seed of it she planted in me by her modeling of it every single session.
I’m thinking about this in relation to you and me, and also considering the radical thought of applying it to every person on our globe.
Could it possibly apply that broadly?
What would happen if we looked at our lives right now – every one of us – with all the things we love about them and all the things we know we want to change, all our strengths and our neuroses, all the places of confidence and the fears and stresses and what-ifs that we carry, and trusted that the unfolding of all of it is good?
What if we trusted this to be true for other people, too? Even, yes, the person on skid row. Even the addict, the terminally ill, the suicidally depressed?
Could it still apply? (I feel shy and audacious even asking!)
What if we trusted that the exact pace we’re all going is right, and that if any of us were inspired to speed up or slow down, that would be right, too?
What if we trusted that our screw-ups fit into the big picture well?
What if we knew that nothing has been or is being or will ever be wasted or lost, and that even where we could talk about waste and loss on one level, the feelings that get evoked by such things – grief, despair, embarrassment, shame – and the actions these inspire, are important parts of our story, and are working their own magic to take us to important next chapters?
Could it be true? In the face of horrendous loss? Natural disasters? War?
What if indignation and anger and firm “NO’s” to injustices, too, are part of the process, part of the rightness of our world’s unfolding? And if the horrendous losses of the past are part and parcel of our compassion today, our awareness of others’ suffering, the global shifts toward acknowledging and honoring the dignity of all?
Richard Rohr writes a lovely book called Everything Belongs (lovely, I think, for those in and outside the Christian fold, as well as those with and without a traditional concept of God), and those two words feel at the heart of what I’m wondering.
Could everything belong? Truly?
If it could – and I’ve been leaning into this possibility for some time now – this changes everything for me. It removes a whole layer of frantic from everything I do. It takes the desperation out of loss, the sting out of failure, the shame out of my bumbling job at life…and the scandal away that I might otherwise feel about the bumbling efforts of those around me.
It breathes courage into the moves my heart asks me to make and patience into the way I mother and friend and daughter and partner the people in my life, because if the story we’re all creating and joining is a good one, if timeliness is doing its thing, and if we’re all in some great big bumpy process of waking up together, there isn’t any reason to fear. Not one. Everything – everything – is folding and unfolding into the process.
And where the thought of everything belonging doesn’t do such things in me, where I’m still left in my shame or fear or impatience or indignation, it makes me more comfortable with those feelings, too!
What do you all think about this? What would change if you knew to your core that everything – every little thing – belongs?
(Scandal and resonance and every thought in between are welcome here!)