“Although no one can go back and make a new start, anyone can start now and make a new end.” – Chico Xavier.
Imagine being able to travel back in time, to be able to tell our younger selves, “Do this!” or “Don’t do that!” Would you want to avoid some of your more painful experiences? Are there things you would undo? Would you have chosen a different path at a particular turning point in your life?
It’s easy to see why some would want to go back in time. Some people may have gone through horrific events that we can’t imagine. But for most of us, if we are patient, we can look back afterward and be grateful for what transpired. Without the past events, we would not be as strong as we are today.
Sometimes we can see the silver lining, or blessings in disguise, within a few days, weeks or months. Sometimes we have to wait years to appreciate the events that altered our lives.
Without these events, we wouldn’t know what we wanted or didn’t want. The contrast of different types of experiences helps us make choices. How would you know that you liked vanilla ice cream more than chocolate if you had not tried both? They also help us develop compassion and wisdom.
I think George’s story is a prime example of this. If he had had a time machine that let him go back and he chose to use it, his life would not be the one that he now has and loves!
George’s story starts with him being a member of a fundamentalist, Evangelical Christian church. Looking back, he now sees how this church shared the characteristics of a cult. How it controlled every aspect of his life.
He had become entrenched in the organization. It was his whole life. Nearly all his activities and friends revolved around the church. His college girlfriend was the minister’s daughter. It was an emotionally intense relationship. One bonded by their shared fundamentalist faith.
George had no intentions of ever leaving the church. He expected it to be the foundation of the rest of his life. One that he could build everything around.
When George was 22, his life crossed paths with a turning point.
At that time George was a college student and while on summer break, he read M. Scott Peck’s book “In Heaven as on Earth.” He had read and enjoyed several other books written by Dr. Peck, so he was looking forward to reading this one.
The new book was a novel about life after death. The main character, Daniel, awakes in a small, nondescript room. Two greeters appear to help him reacclimate being in spirit form and without a body. As the story continues he shares that:
- We create our reality in heaven just as we did on earth
- We can go back to earth and watch things unfold
- That no matter what form you are in, spiritual or physical, we all need a purpose
- We get to choose if we want to return to a physical body and when this happens it is a gift that we should not take lightly
What George didn’t know was this book was going to turn his faith upside down. It was a book that thrust open a door to other possibilities of what happens when we die. This shifted his way of thinking. So drastically, that it collapsed his fundamentalist Christian beliefs:
- That there are a heaven and a hell
- There is only way to go to heaven
- You are doomed to hell if you are not a Christian
At one point while George was telling me his story, I started hearing an old song by R.E.M.
“Losing My Religion”
Oh life, it’s bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up
That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
I could feel the pain of what he next shared with me. What happened was heartbreaking.
When he got back off of summer break, he told his girlfriend and members of the church that he had lost his faith. All that he had believed was gone.
Cue the lyrics: “The distance in your eyes. Oh no, I’ve said too much, I set it up.”
His relationship with his girlfriend, which was forged in their shared faith, ended. His church ostracized him, so he lost most of his friendships. In a short amount of time, everything that had the deepest meaning for him disappeared. His life’s structure and foundation became dismantled.
Cue the lyrics: “That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion.”
George spent the next couple of years feeling a lot of emotional pain; hurt, grief, loss. He even feared that he would go to hell, now that he lost his faith. Fortunately, with time, this fear went away. He started studying other philosophies that taught about a loving Creator.
I asked him, “What helped you get over the loss of your faith? What led you to start finding your inner-faith?” He said “Getting back into reading M. Scott Peck’s books, especially The Road Less Traveled series, was nourishing. As was reading more NDE (near death experiences) stories.”
With time, the pain began to heal, and life moved on. George started to rebuild his foundation of faith. One step at a time. He did this by studying and reading teachings that were more spiritual than religious. He started figuring out what his personal faith meant to him.
This led him to be more open and accepting of other people and their beliefs. Non-judgmental of other lifestyles. He finished college, started working, and began to build relationships, including dating. He found new interests. A cat acquired him. (Cat owners realize we are just butlers.)
It was not easy for George to reboot his life and start over, after losing almost everything that was dear to him. In fact, it was extremely painful. But due to George’s resilience and courage, he was able to redesign his life!
For the most part, dating was a huge struggle. It took George almost ten years to finally find his love, Kim, the woman he would marry.
After breaking up with his college girlfriend, George had a series of short-term relationships. These relationships, for various reasons, did not work out. He said “this was an emotionally tough time for me. I felt sad and lonely a lot. It felt like I could never find someone who would love me again.”
His years of dating were difficult. But they came with a blessing in disguise. George was able to learn about who he would get along with, and who he wouldn’t.
“I was, of course, working on myself. My personal growth. Being single, I had a lot of time to read.”
One of the books he read was “It Works,” a short book by RH Jarrett. This little book is about the Law of Attraction. Based on what it said, George wrote down what a “perfect partner” would be. He read it twice a day for two weeks, and then he had to put it away. It was too painful for him to keep reading it because it reminded him of what he didn’t have.
The frustration of dating failures reached a tipping point for George. He said “I was getting into so much despair, that I got together with friends, and declared that I was done with dating! I’m no longer going to do this. I don’t want any more heartbreak. What I’m going to do is just pursue my purpose. I’m going to take back my energy that I was putting into dating, and pursue my life’s calling. And if someone else comes along, and our purposes aligned and we are a good team, then romance may happen. But otherwise, I’m not going to look anymore.”
George had to let go for things to start happening. When we get out of the Universe’s way and stop messing things up, The Law of Attraction works. Of course, it has to be in its own time. He had to say “I’m giving up and focusing only on the things that bring me meaning.”
At that point, the Universe was able to step in and start working its magic.
A few weeks after he declared no more dating, and several months after he had written his perfect partner list, Kim contacted him. It was out of the blue. She messaged him from a dating site, where for four years he had not had one response!
George said “I was ready, but I wasn’t looking. I was just focusing on my purpose, and she came along!”
And then he “pulled the
Would George have been happy if he had stayed on his original path? There is no way to know. He does know that he is grateful and happy for the version he is living now. And he has no regrets.
George followed Chico Xavier sage advice of “start now and make a new end.”
The Event: George read a book that set his life trajectory onto a new path. A path that led him to ‘losing’ everything.
The Blessing In Disguise: ‘Losing’ everything, helped him gain everything he wanted. He found himself, his faith and his life partner.
The Lesson or Outcome: George had to lose everything for the Universe to give him everything. And that magic happens when we let go and surrender. It is in both times of loss and surrendering that Blessings and Grace can move mountains for us.