“Ever notice that when you are facing endless frustration and no way out, you start grasping at straws, start making up stuff in your head; you start looking for answers from the mystics, looking for the wise ones, counting on them knowing what mere mortals do not. Did you ever notice when you feel laid low, reaching out for answers, fully expecting to find them, that your own stores seem to be empty, and you’re left with the question, “Where do I look now?”. Well, I’m noticing it big time right now and I submit to you, “Where is God?”.”

I wrote this in my journal on March 14, during what has been one of the most challenging two months of my life. As I look back at recent posts I realize that the last six have referenced my recent illness beginning with one on February 8th. Each one seemed to say it was over, we’d found the answer, and I was on my way back to wellness. I share with you now that after each of those hopeful posts was some sort of setback that took a great toll on my vision of wellness, not to mention emotional, spiritual and physical bodies. And now, after almost nine weeks of darkness, the sun has returned and I’m coming back.

I usually feel my connection to Spirit as a constant and unwavering presence. I’m usually in a perpetual conversation with the God of my understanding, knowing without a doubt that this presence can be counted on. I guess you could say that my faith has been steadfast. When referring to “faith” I don’t mean from a religious standpoint, but from the perspective of a deep knowing that The Universe has my back. And that faith has gotten me through some tough times.

Truth be told, this recent illness undermined my faith. It took me to what can only be characterized as a Dark Night of the Soul experience. My connection seemed to disappear. I felt lost and untethered despite the amazing support I had from those closest to me. I was in unfamiliar territory in so many ways and the one solid thing that I have always counted on, my spiritual connection, seemed to have vanished. Each time we thought we had an answer that would end the suffering, it was pulled away and I found myself lost in an ocean of fear of the unknown. My imagination took over and I was unable to access my inner resources. Everything I’ve learned over the years about staying positive, changing my thoughts, envisioning the best outcome was gone and I was lost. I felt defeated and exhausted and it was dark.

Of course, there was light all around me in my husband, my daughter, my family and my closest friends who knew what I was going through and never let me down. But inside me the light had dimmed and I was afraid. I started journaling every day, sometimes two or three times a day. I’ve been journaling since I was a young girl and my entries are letters to God. So, this was my vehicle for communicating, and many of my writings were more like ranting. I begged and pleaded for help, for answers and for healing. I expressed my love and gratitude for all that I had in my life and asked that I be granted more time to love and live in good health and vitality. And my heart was heavy with fear and dread that I might never regain access to the life I love. I wrote, but I wasn’t quite sure anyone or anything was listening.

At one point, during one of my many meltdowns, I asked Bob, “Where is God? I can’t find God anywhere!”. His answer was always, “God is in this. God is all over this.” I was comforted by his faith, but I couldn’t feel it for myself. I was depleted of everything.

Eventually, after a particularly bad day I made the decision to ask my larger communities on Facebook for prayers. What followed was an ocean of love and prayers that was overwhelming to say the least. They came immediately and lasted for several days. I was, and am, deeply humbled. And everything shifted from there. I was contacted by a very dear friend that night and she used her amazing skill to help me off the “skinny branches”, and by the end of our conversation I felt calm and still. I was contacted privately by many beautiful souls offering help. One of those was a former student who, lo and behold, is skilled in treating the exact issues I am dealing with. And she offered to counsel me through the healing process, which, by the way, is working. I have been showered with love and prayers which has given me the strength and determination to walk back into the light. Day by day I am healing. Day by day I am reconnecting. Day by day I step further and further into the life I love living.

We finally know what has been causing the upheaval in my body. It’s being treated and I’m getting well. And I have regained my connection. As I look back at what has transpired these many weeks the lessons, the wisdom, and the gifts become clear. Too many to list here but suffice it to say, they are being “discussed” in my trusty journal. One of the most important has been my new-found love of my body, something I wrote about a few weeks back. More recently, though, is the insight that throughout this ordeal I have been “emptying”. Body and soul, I have had to allow a clearing out process to unfold. My cousin likened it to a long detox and I must agree. Along with my body, my mind and spirit have experienced a detox. I notice that my heart is wide open and I have more patience for things that once set my teeth on edge. I am filled with a sense of gratitude and humility. I see more, I feel more, I know more.

The decision to ask for help from my Facebook family was a turning point in my healing. I sense that Spirit inspired that decision. Asking for help has been difficult for me in the past. I’ve always seen myself as the helper, not the “helpee”. I’ve come to realize that asking for help, and graciously receiving it, is part of the exchange of energy that is an integral part of participating in the human experience. We need each other. Another of the many lessons learned.

When I asked for help I could feel the waves of love and prayers moving through me, lifting me, filling the spiritual emptiness and leading me out of the dark night. God was indeed in it all. God was always there, moving me through the process even when I lost my ability to connect with that truth.

STRETCH: Ask for help, and be willing to receive it graciously.

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