“You look different than you did last night. You seem to be fresh. Your step is lighter. What happened?”
The observation caught me off guard. I had not thought about how or even if things had changed since yesterday. As I reflected on the observation, I knew that it was true. I did feel better! I knew my step was lighter. The odd part was that nothing externally at changed. The same unmet deadlines of yesterday were here today. The obstacles and barriers I had struggled with were still in place. As far as I knew, nothing on the outside was different. Yet, there was a difference.
As I walked through my steps, I realized that there were several steps that had taken me to a different starting point. The first thing I did after leaving the office was to head to a Finnish sauna. I realized that the quietness, intense heat, and soft light had invited me to let go. Although it was not immediate, after an extended period of heat and solitude, I had accepted the invitation. My release in that moment had been complete.
In the peace that followed, I found myself thinking of the gifts in my life. The smiles and laughter of children in the center of my heart, the wonder of friendship especially with those that know me well, and beauty in opportunities to make a difference. I knew from the inside out that I belonged, that I was part of something bigger than myself.
In the silence I could hear myself singing. Songs that brought back deep memories, “all my life…” with the sound of an acoustic guitar in my head, “amazing grace…” with the echo of strangers singing four part harmony in New York’s Russian baths.
I realized I was using David’s model; “I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.” (Psalm 34.1) In the embrace I was changed. I knew I needed this. Life may not have changed but my approach does when I embrace what is already within you and me.