One way to look at the most difficult people in our lives is to name them "teacher." I am often reminded of the days when I practised Aikido. In our various exercises, we would bow to our "opponent" and say "Thank you for testing me." That attitude has done me well in life beyond the dojo.
I has seemed extremely odd to me that so many of my "teachers" have had mental disorders, primarily paranoia, borderline personality, manic depressive disorder, dementia and schizophrenia. It also seems to me that not many people have had the quantity and intensity of most of my "teachers." So, there must be a reason that at most times in my life there has been someone with one or more of these afflictions who were testing me. And there must be a reason that this pattern started when I was a very small child, experiencing craziness hurled at me without much let up. I don't want to go into it in detail, but just for a bit of an example: being chased around the house with a knife that eventually ended up on my throat at the age of 8, being just barely able to trip and run and lock myself in the garage; bedtime stories such as about a man in Pittsburg that crawled into windows and chopped up bad little girls into inch cubes, and he was coming for me; being awakened in the middle of the night in a frenzy of terror as I was told the Martians had landed on our roof (actually cats in heat) and on and on. It never seemed to stop. It didn't end when my childhood ended either.
The point of view from one angle is that I waited lifetimes for teachers such as these.
The point of view from another angle is that it all threw me into my spiritual quest and deep relationship with the Holy Presence.
Well, I know there are dozens of points of view about it all, and I'm going with the latter. It seems there must be something about the craziness that led me to my spiritual quest that threw me into exploration of what is and what is not true about what others said and wrote about spiritual understanding. I can recall Mother saying once in her old age that I was so spiritual it scared her. I can not remember a time I did not seek God and understanding.
I awoke this morning with some of the craziness passing by my mind, and I began pondering once again, how did I get through it and remain sane? The thing that comes to mind is that in each and every valley, the Holy Presence was/is with me, sometimes a feeling, sometimes speaking words, occasionally in person, that is visually present and also speaking and also enfolding me with an incredible uplifting energy that brought peace and confidence that I am not alone.
A thought came to me: when the water is a long way down, one must dig a deep well.
In some ways, I became an observer, sometimes looking the craziness in the face and naming it interesting or instructive. It taught me to redefine "trust." Instead of trusting others to do the thing I would do, I learned to "trust" they would do what they do, and it wasn't actually personal. They did the same sorts of things to others too. If words and actions come from the deep well of Spirit, they have an entirely different energy than if they come through a filter of mental disorder.
I am curious about how my life will be evaluated when the time comes to go on - evaluated both by folks on earth and by the Holy Presence that will greet me. The first is interesting, the second is the one that matters in the largest sense.
Lord, I am incredibly thankful that You are with me every millisecond, every valley, every mountaintop, every inch of the dig to the deep waters of Spirit. Keep me alert to Your Presence and Guidance through this maize of life on earth.