Father, if you are willing,
take this cup from me;
yet not my will,
but yours be done.
It is easy being Christ in pleasant situations, when everything is going according to plan and expectations. When all is well as far as we can sense.
But how do you practice being Christ in trying situations? I was given what I think is the beginning of an answer last night when I went for a Chinese foot massage. You know, the kind that makes you wince because of the pressure. The guy who massaged me was incredibly strong (or knew how to position his body to exert the right amount of pressure) and he was hitting the right spots in the soles of my feet. At the time it was happening, I resorted to focusing on my exhales. I consciously relaxed my whole body from my facial muscles and my shoulder muscles, my back muscles, all my joints, and especially the muscles he was working on.
Only now in retrospect did I realize that I surrendered to the pressure he was applying to me. By surrender, I meant, the embodiment of, Into Thy hands, I commit my spirit. I softened my muscles, but that starts from the mind and the heart. The space of receptivity opens up, expands, and welcomes the pressure. Metaphorically, welcoming the stranger, the "least of these," the visitors in Rumi's 'guest house.'
For that is when our Christ-consciousness is tried and manifested. Those are the times when I am asked to grow and mature in my Love, my Faith in the Beloved. Those are graced times, when God truly has her loving hands on me. She is somehow saying, I Am here. Feel me. I Am with you. Do not be afraid.
How about you? Can you visualize the hand of the Divine Massage Therapist working on your 'spiritual muscles' when it feels you are in the valley of death? Can you treat those times detoxifying you, cleansing you, like a deep-tissue massage would?
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And put a new spirit within me.
The sacrifice acceptable to God
is a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.