The phone rang and a good friend asked me if I wanted to join him on a day’s ramble in the Peak District. I took a moment to think about the invite and then kindly accepted and finalized further details about timings and preparations.
Easter Monday Ramble
A big part of Easter celebrations include the dark day of Good Friday and the bright Easter Sunday, remembering the resurrection of Jesus. Then often on the Easter Monday many would travel to the countryside to take part in a robust or leisurely ramble.
Choices and Impositions
Midway through the walk with my friend, we were asked if we wanted to follow a low and easy path or ascend via a more difficult and higher route. We chatted and agreed to accept the challenge of the higher way. In life there are many choices and impositions that come to us whereby we have to decide how we are going to act and react in respect to directions, emotions and relationships.
Acceptance with thanksgiving
For the past few months I have been thinking and meditating on the topic of acceptance with a spirit of thanksgiving. In psychological and theological terms the concept of acceptance is comprehensive and may relate to the following points.
Self-acceptance. Do we value or devalue ourselves?
Personal relationships. Do we give freely to others or look to take from people?
Faith or no faith in a God. Faith gives us a hope and joy beyond ourselves. Without faith we act as our own God!
Daily living. How we relate to acceptance and none-acceptance will determine our characteristics!
If we are able to accept the actual daily circumstances we find ourselves in and be thankful for them, it will strengthen our minds, bodies and spirits.
None-acceptance with complaint
The contrasting thought to the above is an attitude of none-acceptance with complaint. We may live daily in a state of none-acceptance and complain about what is happening to ourselves and our relationships get complicated. We are ignorant and angry towards a governing God or Divine being that seems to allow troubles on earth. We carry with us a sour spirit that everyone around us can sense. It is however important to recognise where we are not happy and register our complaints so that it helps an ongoing attitude of acceptance with thanksgiving!
Bereavement and Loss
Twelve years ago I was asked to take the funeral service of a local lady who had lost her husband. It goes without saying that she did not want to accept his loss but within the service and the intervening months and years she was able to record a wealth of thanksgiving for that which they had shared together. There was also lots of none-acceptance and complaints as to how his absence affected her quality of life and incurred many hours of sadness and tears.
Any bereavement may include a loss of relationships, a job and a measure of health. Also an ability to earn and maintain a certain level of wealth. I have continued to visit the lady and together we have shared our own acceptances with thanksgiving and those areas in life that challenge us with none-acceptance and complaint.
None-acceptance with thanksgiving – Acceptance with complaint
During the last two years, as is the case with so many, lockdown has severely affected her confidence to re-engage with ‘normal’ life and has accepted that she is unable physically and emotionally to travel outside her home again. It is so special that she has excellent home carers and support around her that makes her confided life more than bearable.
It might be an interesting exercise to think about: None-acceptance and thanksgiving and attaching acceptance to complaint! You might be pleasantly surprised as to what impact it will have upon you?
Accept the day and circumstances given to us
As we continue to ‘ramble’ with friends during summer and autumn walks, we will accept or reject certain challenges that come our way. We will make good or bad choices and try to work through impositions placed upon us.
It takes more energy to frown than smile. It takes a lot of effort to lie than tell the simple truth. When we constantly complain, justified or not, we create an atmosphere in which people do not want to linger in.
The book of Psalms in the Old Testament records the experiences of many individuals who have registered their complaints and thanksgivings in the midst of accepting and rejecting the life circumstances they find themselves in. Psalm 121 encourages us to “lift our eyes to the mountains” and asks the question. Where can we find help to make good choices and cope with impositions? The answer is to consider “the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth,” who watches over our comings and goings.
So today register your none–acceptance and complaints so that your personal wellbeing is not diminished. Firm up your acceptance of what today brings before you and be thankful. May we all ‘roll with the punches’ that life brings, with an acceptant smile on our faces?
(Selah: take time to consider what you have just read)