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Update from Atlanta

I recently visited Sedona for a week, and it was wonderful to see my old friends again. After talking with them and receiving what looks to me like guidance, it seems that my time in Atlanta will soon come to a close. I will most likely be moving back to Sedona in January.

To be perfectly honest, life has been difficult in Atlanta. The good news is that I did find a job and I am getting by financially, though barely. But I have missed my friends in Sedona, and it has been a struggle to work full time and fulfill my Course teaching function as well. On top of that, I have developed some strange health problems, such as unexplained numbness in my left arm and leg, and I can’t get them checked out because I don’t have the money and don’t yet have health insurance.

Several things have sustained me during what has been a trying time. One is simply the idea that God loves me. I have adapted a beautiful passage from The Gifts of God and turned it into the following prayer to God, which I’m using as a practice:

Rest could be mine because of what You are.
You love me as a mother loves her child;

her only one, the only love she has,
her all-in-all, extension of herself,
as much a part of her as breath itself.
 

You love me as a brother loves his own;
born of one father, still as one in him,
and bonded with a seal that cannot break.

You love me as a lover loves his own;
his chosen one, his joy, his very life,
the one he seeks when she has gone away,
and brings him peace again on her return.

You love me as a father loves his son,
without whom would his self be incomplete,
whose immortality completes his own,
for in him is the chain of love complete-
a golden circle that will never end,
a song that will be sung throughout all time
and afterwards, and always will remain
the deathless sound of loving and of love.

Another thing that has sustained me is the idea that God has a plan for my life. I’ve created another practice based on some beautiful paragraphs in Lesson 135. While the above practice is a prayer from me to God affirming His Love, this practice is, in a sense, God’s loving reply to me:

My dearest Greg, what could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood My plan, for I would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see My loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, I led you gently to eternal life.

Your present trust in Me is the defense that promises a future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow, and with joy that constantly increases, as your life becomes a holy instant, set in time, but heeding only immortality. Let no defenses but your present trust direct the future, and your life becomes a meaningful encounter with the truth that only your defenses would conceal.

Without defenses, you become a light which My Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And I will lead you on in ways appointed for your happiness according to My ancient plan, begun when time was born. Your followers will join their light with yours, and it will be increased until the world is lighted up with joy. My dearest Greg, trust in Me. My Love is all you need. Rest in my love.

Finally, I am finding strength in the idea that I can affirm that these things are true — that God loves me and He has a plan for my life — whatever my outer circumstances. This is what Jesus once called “the deductive approach” in personal guidance to Helen and Bill: Starting with a general principle (in this case, “God loves me and has a plan for my life”), and viewing all of my specific circumstances from the perspective of that general principle. No matter what things look like, God’s Love and His plan have the final say. This story has a happy ending.

I can’t say that these things are working brilliantly, and I’m walking around in a state of pure joy. On the contrary, I have a lot of ups and downs; some days are quite difficult. But these ideas and practices are helpful, and I think I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank God for the Course!