“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
Accepting Divine Order
When I first heard the term divine order, I latched onto it as way of describing the fluctuations in life that I didn’t always understand. If a wonderful synchronistic event occurred, I labeled it divine order. If something thoroughly unpleasant or tragic occurred, I labeled it divine order. Divine order became the way I described all the mysteries in life. It explained the unexplainable and helped me to accept what I couldn’t understand.
Learning to accept what is, whether we like what is happening or not, helps us to find peace and erases the resistance that may prevent us from understanding what is occurring. At times, it may not be clear if what is occurring is a good or bad thing, but by accepting that it is in divine order, we acknowledge it is part of our reality.
Denial Undermines Our Power
People have a tendency to deny the negative experiences of life. By doing so, we prevent ourselves from growing. We need to acknowledge all experiences so that, if we are able to improve a situation, we don’t let the opportunity pass by. Some things can’t be changed, but ignoring the ones that can only makes us feel less empowered or victimized.
The recent events at Penn State are a perfect example. Many who were aware of the child abuse there chose to do nothing. They denied and hid what they knew. They refused to face the horrific effect their lack of action had on many young children. Being unwilling to face their responsibility to stop this abuse, in the end, led to their disgrace. Denial only delays the day we have to face the thing we fear.
Accepting What We Cannot Change
Unlike the Penn State disaster, there are events that occur over which we have no control. The only thing we can control is our response. A loved one becomes addicted to drugs. Time after time they make foolish and dangerous choices, and time after time, we talk to them, and love them. We may pay for them to see a counselor or go through a drug rehab program, but nothing we do changes their behavior. We have faced the situation and are unable to change it, so we must accept it as it is.
Is the self-destruction of our loved one in divine order? It is very difficult to believe it is, yet it may be the very experience that will eventually transform this person in a truly positive way. In the middle of it, we have no way to know. We can only accept what is and have faith that there is a karmic or spiritual reason for our loved one’s behavior.
Our society has encouraged us not to express negative feelings. We’re supposed to be positive all the time, and in one sense, our society has encouraged us to deny what we really feel. There’s nothing healthy about this although it is best for us to be aware of expressing those feelings appropriately. But denying that we feel what we feel makes it impossible for us to resolve those problems and the issues around them. We have to face it, if we want to change it.
The Divine Gift of Acceptance
Every year in January, a spiritual group to which I belong has a gift exchange. We each bring an item that has meant a great deal to us, but one that we are ready to release. The items are placed on a table and each person gets to choose. Then, that person explains why they have chosen the gift and the person to whom it belonged explains what it meant to them. Several years ago, I chose a stone a friend had originally bought at a Deepak Chopra seminar. Across the stone is written “Acceptance,” and it lies on a table in my family room where I see it often to remind me that I need to accept what I cannot change. Every year, I think, “I’m ready to let go of this. I’ve learned about acceptance,” but inevitably life presents me with another lesson to illustrate that I still have more to learn. I guess I have to accept the fact that I need to keep the stone for at least one more year. How do you find acceptance with the difficult areas of your life?
© 2011 Georganne Spruce
Related Articles: Acceptance and Surrender, 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow, Dangers of Denial