Faith: Why Sometimes What You Want Doesn’t Come the Way You Want It

poppies - 1I know, it’s frustrating. We want something and then take the action to do whatever we think it will take to receive it. We pray or we follow the “experts” guidelines to manifest our dreams, and many times we receive what we’ve focused on, but many times we don’t. Losing faith and bewildered, we haphazardly try every other way we come across or think will work to receive what we are wanting.

Or we give up wanting anymore.

Why does this happen? Why are we able to receive something we deeply desire sometimes and not at other times? I’m sharing the following story of a time I desperately wanted to get pregnant, finally did, and then had to face my worst fear. I chose this story because I want to show how when you get what you wanted, but it comes in way that that leaves you with more pain than you could have imagined, that in the end, if you develop faith, the experience brings you the most magnificent, wonderful gift you could have ever fathomed.

I tried to get pregnant for two agonizing years. My husband and I were tested for any reason that we couldn’t, but there wasn’t any reason. Finally, three years after marriage, I gave birth to a baby girl.

Fearful of losing my hard-won treasure, my new baby, I became exceedingly over-protective.

What mother agonizes over all the ways that she might kill her baby every time she has to drive with her child in her car? Even though she’s had a hard time conceiving? Or panics when her daughter is a little older and slides down a kiddie slide? Or worse, when her daughter does finally get her first boo-boo, she worries that the scar has maimed her daughter for life.

I was that mother. I knew I was being irrational. No other mother I knew worried like I did about their first child. It wasn’t until a friend of mine offered to pick my daughter up one day from nursery school that I finally confronted the reality of what I’d been doing .

When my friend came to my house with my daughter, Carrie, she told me that the teacher had asked her “Can’t this child do anything for herself?

It was as if a bright light had switched on. A flash of reality bursting forth! The truth was out. I’d been hurting my daughter more than I had admitted to myself.

What I’m doing to protect Carrie is worse than all the accidents she’ll have if I give her the freedom to learn from her own mistakes.

I convinced myself that if I were to have more children, I wouldn’t have the time to keep tormenting myself with these disturbing thoughts. However, it wasn’t any easier to have another child than when I was trying to get pregnant with Carrie. Desperate, I begged my husband to agree to adopt a second child. He was adamant. The answer was “No.”.

Finally, two years later I gave birth to a second daughter. My husband and I brought Samantha home to her big sister, and Carrie was delighted with this new bundle of joy sitting on her lap. I finally had all that I so desperately wanted now.

One month later, I drove the baby to her doctor’s office for a one month checkup. As the doctor had his stethoscope upon Samantha’s heart, I wondered about his concentrated intensity as he fixated on the sounds coming through his stethoscope for what seemed a long time. But I relaxed when his mood lightened after discarding the instrument to check Sandy’s throat and eyes.

Two hours after I had gotten home, I picked up the phone.

“Doretta, I heard a murmur in Samantha’s heart this morning in my office,” the doctor told me. “I’ve made an appointment for her with a ventricular pediatric specialist. It may be nothing but I think it’s prudent to get it checked out.”

Nervously sitting in the waiting room of the specialist’s office while he tested Samantha’s heart, I tried to think about anything but what I was afraid of. Finally the nurse came to tell my husband and I that the heart specialist would give us the results in his office. Unfeeling and cold, seemingly reciting a prognosis he’d delivered thousands of times, he told us that Samantha had a ventricular septal defect. I could hear words I didn’t want to hear as I, half-awake, in a stupor, told us “if she gets pneumonia or needs dental surgery she needs to have antibiotics”, “we normally don’t do surgery for this defect until she is at least seven years old”, and at that time, the ‘60’s, he told us, “most children with this defect don’t live past the age of eighteen”.

My husband and I walked out of the doctor’s office, stunned, heavy-laden, with no idea how to cope with the news. We made an appointment with a another heart specialist to confirm this doctor’s diagnosis. The specialist we saw was a friend of ours, and because he was so regretful to have to confirm that Samantha’s life was at risk, he expressed his concern in a very disheartening way. “I’m so sorry,” he kept repeating. This was, in a peculiar way, a lot harder to hear than the bare facts laid out by Samantha’s doctor

When we got home, I talked to God.

One thing I have to confess is that the only other times I had spoken to God were times when the turbulence of an airplane shook me to the core, and I feared for my life. But now I had another, better reason to speak to God. My new baby might die.

The incongruous nature of my request forced an even more inappropriate way for me to approach God. “What is this?” I asked. “Some kind of joke?”

I asked you for another child so I would stop worrying all the time that something would happen to Carrie. So now you give me another child, but this child has a real, tangible, even worse reason to worry?”

My husband and I went to the mountains to get away and heal from such a devastating blow. We wanted to be able to get our feet on the ground again. Samantha’s fate was out of our hands. How would each of us cope living with the knowledge that this hole in Samantha’s heart might mean she won’t be with us long?

In the mountains my husband and I took long walks, our feet crunching fallen leaves that autumn. The only sounds were the rustle the wind made as it passed through the trees. Here in nature, with the stillness, we were able to let go of the fear and open our hearts to love.

When we arrived home, I made up mind that even though I didn’t have control of the Samantha’s condition, I did have control over how I would handle it. I could turn over Samantha’s fate to God. I could and did imagine a gigantic bubble of light around Samantha and sent the bubble into the Universe to keep her safe.

Several years ago I learned a way to perceive an experience I didn’t ask for and didn’t know the reason it had come into my life. The advice I received was to embrace any experience that you didn’t expect, don’t really want, wish it hadn’t happened, by realizing it’s come into your life for a reason you can’t know now. The best way to perceive it is to assure yourself that even though you don’t know why this happening, there has to be something better coming or else it wouldn’t be in your life. This approach has helped me enormously to get through some very hard experiences.

And then recently I understood the reason why I had to experience having to face my worst fear when Samantha was born. The reason is that when we ask for something we’re having trouble manifesting, and something we didn’t want comes to us instead, is that we have unknown, deep-rooted blocks and fears preventing us from attaining that which we want. It’s as if God, hearing we want what we’re incapable of receiving, lovingly brings the lessons we have to learn in order to have what’s been evading us. Once we break through the obstacles by being honest with ourselves, being patient and opening ourselves to love, we are in a position to receive what we wanted.

We’ve learned that the barrier preventing us from having what we want isn’t outside of us.  It’s our fear misrepresenting whatever truth we could learn from to create our dreams.

That’s exactly what I learned from the lessons I received after praying for another child. I thought I wanted another child to stop worrying so much, but the opposite was true. I had been so focused on my needing to safeguard and protect my first child, I had to learn how to have faith in a Higher Power to do that job.

When I took Samantha to Houston, to the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston to have her 7 year old evaluation with Dr. Michael DeBakey, he told me it was a miracle. The hole between the two valves of Samanths’s heart had healed sufficiently to warrant forgoing the operation.

The miracle was not just that Samantha’s heart had healed, but that the experience had held another gift for me. I had been forced to make peace with Samantha’s future. I had accepted that she may die, and synchronously, I developed faith and a deep gratitude for the gift of being with her and loving her. Her heart problem had opened up my heart to allowing God to take care of her. I had learned to Trust.

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How I Changed my Mind to Be Happy

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This morning, writing in my journal, I began to list what I intended to achieve during the day.  Would I query some new agents with the book I’ve written, or should I begin painting again today?  I’ve put my art on hold while I wrote my book, and then after that a book proposal.  Several other options to stay busy poured out on the page, and I began to feel discombobulated.

When I made a decision to write the book, I had a singular purpose.  There were no other options than write, write, write some more.

Because I focused on my art for so long, I questioned if I could handle adding another separate activity to my life.  But the pull to write the book was so strong, I was willing to quit painting for the duration of producing a book.

Now that the book is completed, I don’t have any single purpose driving me to accomplish something.  Now I’m waiting to hear from agents who are in the process of reading my manuscript, and I’m feeling antsy.

How do I make a choice when there’s no purpose?

The painting above was painted about fourteen years ago.  A friend had written a poem about a mother twirling with her baby in a field of poppies.  I immediately wanted to capture the intense feeling of pleasure that filled my heart when I read the poem.

I was feeling the exuberance of being in an open field, the sun shining down on us.  I was soaking up the beauty around me.  Full of love for the baby in my arms, I appreciated the moment, the two of us together, twirling in the expansive surroundings.

I had an epiphany.  Why can’t I let go and enjoy this moment, like I did with my imagination about the painting?  Why do I always have to have a purpose for anything?

What difference does it make if I let my heart choose instead of having something concrete to show for that moment?  Why can’t I have the same passion for whatever is happening in the moment as I do for all that I’m able to achieve?

That’s when I realized that real knowing comes from the heart.  It doesn’t measure success by what you’ve created.  It’s the other way around.  You have to let go and open your heart to create.

That’s when you’re in the flow.  That’s when you’re the happiest.  That’s what I should be striving for now.  To be happy.  Not to depend on some external circumstance to bring me joy.

So I did let go and allowed myself the experience of letting each moment dictate the next action I took.  No matter if it was feeling good about getting the dishes washed or doing one other thing on my list, I approached each moment seeing and feeling it through the lens of happiness.

I know from experience that the best ideas come to me when I’ve been in a state of repose, away from constant concentration on one thing.  I may get an idea in the shower or while walking.  Since that’s true, I know that having faith and trusting always brings me all that I need.  I don’t have to wrack my brain to make a choice.

Since nothing I do now will make a difference in whether the agents reading my manuscripts offer to represent me or not, I’m free to live my life without worry.  Besides I also know that nothing comes to me when I’m not connected to feeling happy and loving, so chill out, Doretta

 

How Appreciation Can Change Your World

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Since I’ve always been inquisitive, and because I’ve always wanted to know why I act as I do, I’ve come to realize that creativity (which I once associated only with the arts) and Life (which was another world, ruled by circumstances beyond our control) are One.  Whatever motivates a person in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that you can apply to any situation in life.

Hold on, please.  If this doesn’t make sense yet, it will in a little while. I am going to share an experience I had today to illustrate this concept.

Today, getting ready to write this blog post, first I read my horoscope.  I receive a daily intuitive horoscope from Daily Intuitive Horoscopes written by Ghazaleah Lowe. I’ve found her horoscopes to be insightful and pointedly true most of the time.  If I don’t have the clarity to understand what she’s said yet, I’ve been willing to admit that I might not  be ready to see that in myself at that particular time.  Here’s today’s horoscope for Gemini’s ( that’s me).

I wouldn’t overthink it if I were you, dear Gemini, in fact, the truth is that your thoughts are way off and they are nowhere near close to whatever you seem to think is happening. Best you take your attention off of these thoughts and focus on your own life. A situation in your life requires more love than you are giving it right now and so it’s best that you focus on bringing more love to this situation than giving your attention to the thoughts in your mind.

The situation I found myself in when I read this was trying to figure out what to write about in this blog post.  I was having a hard time deciding.  So when I read this, it rang a bell.  I’ve realized that in order to create anything that excites and thrills me, I do have to feel love.

And then the next thing that happened amazed me.

As I was setting up my laptop computer at my desk, I noticed a quote I had scribbled on a post-it note.

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”

Tony Robbins

I can do that, I thought.

The moment I felt appreciation, thinking about both of these serendipitous events–the horoscope and the quote–those moments opened a flood of love within me.  I was feeling enormous gratitude to Life for bringing me the ways to experience ease and effortlessness in writing a new blog post.  And appreciation that I didn’t have to battle with my mind commenting and judging what I’m writing.

I picked the painting I’ve posted up above, one I made fifteen years ago, to illustrate how appreciation can and does change your world.

I painted my son with his first daughter at that time because he was the father to his daughter my father never was to me.  Sometimes in life the appreciation we never felt before surfaces in a different, but as meaningful way as the way we hoped it would have.

Appreciation is the closest to love in our world.

So what does my story have in common with the concept that whatever motivates us in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that we can apply to any situation in life?

It’s often easier to let go when we are creating because we aren’t as fearful to lose control.  In life, to let go means we have to face our vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a word that implies being susceptible to being wounded or hurt by criticism or attack.

But when I opened or let go to feel appreciation for my son treating my granddaughter with the love I had wished from my father, it did change my world instantly.  Just as letting go to appreciate the serendipitous events in my life today opened me to clarity, knowing exactly what I wanted to write on this blog post.