Florida-Sunset.jpgI feel very lucky lately.  The other day I looked across the pond just feet away from my back yard pool and there was a majestic great blue heron.   A few feet away swam a snake bird plying the water for fish.  Later in the day a red shouldered hawk alighted on the fence, surveying his kingdom.  Today in the December sunshine I came across a flock of pea hens and peacocks rummaging in a farmer’s field and a big snapping turtle as she plunged into a nearby pond.  My little bit of heaven in Tampa.  How did I get here and how could I be so lucky?

These magnificent creatures, as well as the abundant and crazy-unusual flora are all messengers from God, signs that the universe is meet me to lift me up.  Being in Florida, so close to the raw majesty of nature has given me a sense of living more fully and abundantly in a new world…a world I deserve to enjoy.

But how did I get here?  It was not without effort.  In retrospect I had to take charge of my life through stages and events that I could not have planned.  I sought my destiny.  I gathered my courage.  I opened to trust.

I have always had a sense of destiny, of knowing that one day I will die and leave this earth, but not without first making a positive contribution.  I learned painfully that individual encounters with meanness, hate, evil, and rejection had a lasting effect.  I also learned the opposite: that a good deed has the power to heal.

Destiny takes on flesh as I appreciate each and every bit of the natural universe with a full heart and open spirit.  My sense of destiny means that every encounter I have can heal a tiny bit of another’s soul.  Destiny is consciously making something of my life by waiting for, being aware of, and responding to, the next good thing that comes along.

I never thought I was courageous when I was a kid.  I avoided conflict and physical contact with my peers.  I constantly saw both sides of issues and got stuck debating pros and cons.  I became a mediator and now realize how courageous I was, and am, in seeking the difficult middle road to peace.

Courage motivated my principles which drove my work.  I just wanted to get the job done without seeking grand ambitions.  My highest calling was to be my authentic self, whether it meant spending 32 years as a parish priest, becoming a published writer, taking up painting, or morphing into a life coach.  Now I’ve picked up and relocated after six decades of living within 20 miles of Boston, leaving behind the familiarity of context to begin a new life in a strange new territory, something I never dreamed I would do.

On numerous spiritual retreats I came away realizing that I didn’t really trust God.  Radically I actually didn’t trust love.  I now realize that I held against God the wounds I wore like badges of honor, proclaiming at the same time my innocence and my victimhood.  I wanted to live in a beautiful and harmonious world where the parts fit into the whole without conflict.

Acqua53ebd4c21427d.jpgphoto (4)Mike Garden 2Jay MikeBut just as light makes no sense apart from darkness, beauty cannot be understood apart from brutality.  And nothing is so brutal for a sensitive soul than life itself, surrendering to the here and now without resorting to wishful thinking.  We find gold in this surrender.  I’ve found a beautiful man who loves me and has led me to trust love once again.

Destiny, courage, trust.  How are they lining up for you?  Which one(s) are your greatest stumbling blocks?  What do you need to do for yourself to move a step ahead to the great fortune and happiness that awaits?