"God's the kind of guy you can trust," was my friend John's advice on a particularly bleak autumn morning. At the time, I probably gave him one of those oh-please-do-you-think-this-is-going-to-help-me-pay-my-bills looks. Sure, he could trust the Universe. He had a beautiful wife and a great family. He lived in a glorious home and took exotic vacations. He drove a BMW— with a car seat. He did not roll his grocery cart down the aisle bypassing the artichokes because they were too expensive.
I looked at him with his picture-book-perfect life and my upper lip curled. I scanned my own life and felt like I was facing off against the Green Bay Packers wearing high heels and a dress. And I didn't see any solution in sight. Those dang credit card bills were pummeling me so hard I was seeing double.
How could I even think of trusting in divinity? I had recently discovered that my husband was wildly unfaithful. On top of that, I had lost my business. I was living in someone else's pool house, driving a beat up borrowed car with a shredded roof because I was far too broke to afford even the smallest car payment, and surviving on peanut butter to pay off Mr. Mastercard.
Sure John could trust the Big Guy upstairs. His life worked. Mine sucked. His GPS was functioning; mine was obviously on the fritz. The Higher Power assigned to him had coached him all the way to the Super Bowl. Mine had left me sitting on the bench.
Oh, It's Easy for You to Say
Being a pretty sensitive guy, John picked up on my inner rant. He saw through the "crash and burn" of my circumstances and focused on all the good in my life. He reminded me, first and foremost, of my health and the wealth of people in my life who genuinely cared about me—like John himself and his wife, Gracie, for instance. I was fortunate to have such close friends during a tough time. Plus my ex-husband's mom was actually loaning me a car. Oh, and yes, I had a small but lovely roof over my head. Don't you hate it when people cut your complaining in half? I sure did.
I would look back on this time in my life and count it as a blessing, John assured me. A blessing! I looked at him like he was smoking crack. But he wouldn't give up. I had the chance to be a phoenix, he said— that ancient mythical bird that rose from the ashes of its own funeral pyre, miraculously born anew. He and Gracie knew that in the midst of my challenge was an opportunity for me to become a bigger and better person. Bigger and better person? Ha!
But from John's viewpoint, my precarious situation was a noble quest. I had unwittingly put myself in the flames. Now the decision was mine: I could roll around in the soot of feeling sorry for myself, or I could start making choices to become a more magnificent being. When he reminded me that Spirit saw my goodness even if all I saw were the charred remains of what I had called my life, he struck a powerful, deep chord.
I thought of Cinderella and the ashes. As a little girl I always wanted to rush through the beginning when she was covered in cinders and wearing rags, and get to the part where she wore pretty clothes and got her Prince Charming. Even as a kid I was a sucker for a good tiara and a great dress. I sighed a deep breath and figured it was time to dust the ashes off and go find my ball gown.
John was right. If I had a shovel to dig myself out of my mess, the Universe had a backhoe (that's one honking big digging machine). Regardless of what it looked like, maybe a Higher Power was supporting me. Trusting Spirit, however, was as foreign to me as football. I grew up playing with Barbie’s, for goodness sake.