Not to long ago I noticed something about myself which, after I relented and submitted to honoring it, I actually found kind of amusing. It occurred to me that whenever I start to feel stressed about anything in my life, in those moments, in the midst of my anxiety (always when I’m not looking), something remarkably comforting never fails to come over me. An emotional hug of sorts, like somebody, somewhere, suddenly turns on the lights and makes the darkness I’d been wandering aimlessly in disappear. It’s a peaceful feeling that saturates my entire being and for a moment I am at ease with not only the understanding, but also an absolute knowing that despite whatever plight may appear before me, everything is going to be (and indeed truly already is) alright.

Of course after a second or two of allowing myself the pleasurable experience of this “unfounded” assurance, I would immediately set out to then discredit the incident as nothing more than fanciful thinking. After all, all the information within the bounds of my awareness says that I’m really in some stuff here and that this stuff is only going to get thicker. And who am I to argue with the facts of the actual tangible evidence which lies before me? So after enjoying my moment of groundless serenity for a brief instant, I tell myself that it’s now time to come back to reality. I tell myself that every moment spent in the comfort of baseless feelings (baseless because they aren’t based on anything materially evident) is a moment spent in denial; and that I cannot get to work on solving the problem before me if I insist on walking around with my head in the clouds. It’s an argument that never fails to send me crashing back into the chaos of my troubled circumstance where I once again return to a state of feeling riddle with anxiety and grow so mentally scattered that it becomes difficult for me to tell where any one thing connects any other. And this is the environment in which I have chosen to devise a rational response to whatever has sent my world into a tailspin. You’re beginning to pick up on the funny too now, aren’t you?

I have elected to be “sensible,” and in so doing not only have I traded paradise for the slums, the greater tragedy is that I’ve also robbed myself of the big picture experience (I had been having) which not only contained within it the storm of this moment, but also possessed the moment of clarity which is to follow. In choosing to dismiss the comfort of my unfounded assurance, the blissfulness of the grand picture of my life soon becomes lost in the minutia of its gritty details. It’s a pitiful trade I’ve made and a sorry prize I’ve won, all in the name of being realistic. Yet time and time again I allowed myself to be duped into believing that this time, this trade, this choice is going to be a winning strategy. Of course it never turns out this way and in retrospect I always come to realize that I’ve put myself through more pain than I actually need have in moving through a trying time.

Every single time, during every trying experience in my life, I have experienced this opening. And every single time I have been the one who has been responsible for the closing of this opening – it has never been yanked away from me. I have always been the one to voluntarily shut it because for a very long time my traditional response to suddenly finding myself in this alien space of absolute comfort and assurance was, I can’t stay here. I need to get back to reality. Little did I realize then that it actually was this space of absolute comfort and assurance that is Reality! And that the place I was insisting on getting back to was a place of chaos which I wouldn’t be fit to go back to unless and until I fully drank in the experience that everything was going to be okay.

Such blissful experiences are not unique to me. I’m convinced that they happen to us all; however, not all of us are given to paying attention to them. We sometimes like to play the victim in life and are prone to ask ourselves, where is God in all this suffering? For me, I have realized that the answer to this question is that God is right here, within me, all the time. He makes me most aware of His presence in those inexplicable moments of consolation that I have so often chosen to push away in favor of dealing with the dirty “facts” of life.

I am reminded of that poem, first written by Mary Stevenson in 1936 (revised by Carolyn Carty in 1963, and later on by Margaret Fishback Powers in 1964) entitled Footprints in the Sand.

"One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

'You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?'

The Lord replied, 'The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.'"

The message:
Never doubt that a Higher Power walks with you. And never doubt that it’s when you need Him most that He most strikingly reveals His presence. Don’t be so quick to dismiss that inner voice you hear that tries to assure you that you’re okay, life’s okay and everything is truly alright.

Author's Bio: 

Evette Gardner is an author of 21 Days to a Changed Life and other spirituality topic eBooks. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. You can read more of her articles on her web site and blog.