Spirit leads us in strange ways. Let me share a story to illustrate.
When I was a little girl, I wanted a microscope set and a dissection kit.
Instead, I kept getting dolls.
I hated dolls. I didn’t like their eyes. They scared me. So I blindfolded them and put them in the back of my closet where’d I’d never see them.
I continued to ask for a microscope set and kit. But whenever I’d ask, my mother would say, “Go play with your dolls.”
“No,” I finally said. “I gave them all away.”
“You what?” she demanded.
“I gave them all away. I didn’t like them,” I asserted. Mother took a long drag from her cigarette to calm herself.
“Well, you’re not getting a microscope.”
Drop back and punt.
I went into the woods to explore and stumbled upon two dead muskrats, side by side. I had always been a curious child, wanting to understand how things worked. Seeing those two muskrats made me want to know why they died.
So, I took them home.
I laid them out on my mom’s new picnic table, took needles and scissors from her sewing basket, and grabbed a filet knife. Never having done a dissection before, I approached it with care and respect. I wanted to know how their insides were put together and how this thing called “life” worked. And what better way to study life than to study death? Victor Frankenstein, eat your heart out!
When I got my ungloved hands inside, I suddenly felt deeply connected to something much bigger than myself, though I couldn’t explain it at the time. Everything seemed connected; I saw myself in those muskrats and I saw them in me. I felt life pumping through me from everything around me, like I was touching a giant heart in the Universe, yet feeling that I was somehow that heart. But when I heard the strained squeak of the screen door behind me, the life went out of me. Uh oh. The sound of trouble.
There I stood, my hands tangled in ten feet worth of intestines, as my mother gasped in horror. “Why can’t you just be a normal little girl!“
I was punished and forced to dispose of the remains, which I later retrieved in secret to give them the proper burial service they deserved. I prayed, “God, please accept these muskrats into heaven. Amen.” I covered them gently and placed lilacs on their graves. God had two new playmates in heaven.
I finally got that microscope set.
I don’t know why Spirit put me on such an unusual path of exploration at that time. But I was determined to get that microscope set. And nothing was going to stop me, not even being punished. I didn’t want to be normal. I didn’t like it. Normal just didn’t fit. It seemed so confining and unnatural. When I got my way, it really wasn’t about getting my way. It was about honoring something deep inside of me.
Spirit will lead us down some unusual paths. That’s just how Spirit works. We don’t always know where our paths will lead, but that is the beauty of it. It’s an adventure. It’s a love affair. It’s something that can’t — and won’t — be ignored.
The direction of our paths, no matter where they begin, will change and evolve as we grow, as we learn, as we experience life. Our paths evolve with us as we evolve on our paths. When we put our lives under a microscope, we begin to examine the deeper questions of life. That’s because deep down inside we want to connect, and we have to dig deep into the guts of life, of ourselves, to embrace and honor that sacred connection.
What is your path teaching you? In what ways has Spirit grabbed you by the guts? How are you honoring it?
Walking the spiritual path is a journey into the unknown. We can have an idea of where we are going, and we can work toward those ideas, but at the same time, great mysteries abound and confound, requiring us to have an abiding respect for such processes. Sometimes we must wait in a state of expectation of things unexpected along the way.
Take some time to contemplate mysteries. Vow to respect the complexity and mystery of life. Cherish the baffling, hidden, curious, and enigmatic dimensions of your existence and the world around you. Resist the temptation to ask, “Why?”
Create a ritual in which you yield to the “unknowing.” Rituals are a wonderful way to reinforce a spiritual practice. Create one that reflects who you are in the Mystery of God. Honor the Great Mystery through this ritual. Perhaps it entails wearing all white or all black to signify your devotion to the mysteries of life. Or, maybe it involves chanting a sacred word that represents mystery. Use your imagination.