Saturday, January 7, 2012

Accepting the Good When it Comes

I don't often talk about the specifics of religion, mostly because I think it's a private topic and I have no right to force my views on you, or yours on me.  Besides that, I'm still not sure what I believe.  I was raised Christian, but I've also explored Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Native American religions, and just yesterday I found the answer to a question that was bothering  me in the Quran.  I guess what I believe is there is more than one way to find "heaven" or inner peace.

Yesterday, I spent some time in my church, which is usually a theatre or book store. This time it was Barnes and Noble. I browsed in the religion section, which I don't normally do, but I'll come back to that. I picked up the Quran, and opened it to a random page.  Now, I can't tell you what section it was in, or even exactly how it went, but it was something like this: God does not undo man's gifts to himself and Man cannot take away God's gifts to you. Let me say that part again. Man cannot take away God's gifts to you. 

That struck me like a ton of bricks. A few days ago, after I blogged about the power of the positive attitude, something happened that made me realize I need to continue working on that positive attitude. I had a hard time accepting that something good was happening that I didn't have to fight for.  I did no work to earn it, it just happened.

My partner and I have been looking for a place to live.  Our landlord decided to sell our condo and we wanted to get out before it sold and we'd be forced out.  We hadn't had great luck finding anything we liked and in our price range.  We have a wonderful friend who did suggest the apartment complex he manages, and we pursued that and filled out all the necessary paperwork but it really wasn't what we'd hoped for.  We still wanted to live downtown.

Lo and behold, a friend told my partner about a condo a few blocks away.  We looked at it and it was perfect.  Perfect size. Perfect price.  Perfect location.  The landlord met us, told us we seemed like good people, and told us it was ours if we wanted it.  No application fees, background checks, credit checks, fifteen references, blood test, urine sample, etc... just his feeling that we were good people and we had a mutual friend who vouched for us.  Three days later, we signed the lease and gave him the deposit.  We start moving next weekend.

I don't know why this surprised me.  Good things have happened to me all the time, but somewhere in the past few years I stopped expecting the good things to happen and began expecting the worse.  The good things, I thought, would only come if I worked real hard and forced my will upon them.  I'm happy to report I was wrong.  Another lesson in all of this: when someone tells you that you seem like a good person, it makes you want to be a better person.  I'm suddenly wanting to give back more than ever before.  That's why I was browsing the religion section.

Back to the Quran.  The reason that verse struck me was a few days ago I spoke with a friend of mine and told him my anxiety over this good happening and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He said, "maybe it's a gift from God, or the universe.  Just accept it and say thanks."  What?  Can it be that simple?

Maybe he was right.  It was a gift and no man could undo it. Maybe I should practice expecting the best; not the worse.

Thanks, God.

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