I didn’t see it coming. If you had told me what my last five years would bring I would have laughed. I could never have imagined it. But I think these experiences came from the one word that guides my life, Devotion. It is devotion that motivates me and gives me courage and helps me through the tough times. It is devotion that brings joy into my life as my effort brings rewards.
I’ve watched my neighbors’ devotion to their severely disabled daughter, finding joy in the toughest possible job. Their courage in the face of never ending care displays devotion that few will ever experience. That deep love keeps them going and doing the exhausting job required for her wellbeing.
I have had a devotion to the Path for many years and I had no idea what that devotion would bring to my life. My devotion to parenting meant sleepless nights with sick babies, nightly violin practice for 13 years and holding tough boundaries with teenagers. The rewards did come but only through dogged determination motivated by love. It was never easy.
Spiritual life also requires devotion and determination. It isn’t easy. Experiences and challenges are in your path every step of the way. There is no “add water and stir” spirituality that gives you much depth. Instant gratification only brings an instant version, like instant food gives a dissatisfying version of the real thing. Instant gives a gratification of momentary hunger but not the real deep satisfaction and fulfillment of a home cooked meal. The spiritual seeker has to do the work of gathering the food, chopping, cooking, serving and then cleaning to have a banquet of experiences and insights. But the memories, fulfillment and growth that come from the effort is worth the sore back, and dirty dishes, the knowledge of a job well done and the gift the effort has given those who enjoyed the meal.
My devotion has taken me places I never could have dreamed or wished to go. I could have never come up with multiple trips to Egypt and England or a journey to Peru. That was out of my budget and vision. But somehow it happen, it was part of what was on the path. I also didn’t expect that dear friends would leave my life and dear new friends would enter my life. My teacher Page has taught me “The path leads you, you don’t lead the path”. So expect the unexpected and see where the devotion to spirit and family and friends takes you. You will be as surprised as I have been the last five years. You will be glad you made the effort that devotion requires for it brings satisfaction and peace from a job well done.