Who writes about spiritual abundance on a beautiful Saturday morning, with sunshine streaming in, the chatter of neighbors' voices across the street at an impromptu garage sale, and two cats stretched across me, deftly avoiding all the wires surrounding my pc technology?
Me, I guess.
I used to resent people who wrote about spiritual abundance. It wasn't because what they had to say bothered me, but because I couldn't relate.
I learned about spiritual abundance around the time I started playing wheelchair tennis. For me, wheelchair sports wasn't about the competition. I can only speak for myself here, as there are many talented, elite wheelchair athletes out there! Although I practiced and tried to win my matches, the real reason I loved wheelchair tennis was the community. More specifically, I found and loved the disability community.
It became abundantly clear to me when I arrived at my first wheelchair tennis tournament that I was not the only person living with quadriplegia. This may sound odd, but when you live around able bodied people, work with able bodied people and socialize with able bodied people, it's possible to start to feel as if you are the only one in a wheelchair. Rolling into the tennis court area, I saw at least a dozen empty wheelchairs. Their occupants were playing tennis in their tennis wheelchairs - shouting, laughing, rolling their eyes, smacking balls, trash talking and - oh - amazingly, living out of a sense of abundance.
I was hooked.
It was this sense of abundance - resiliency, resourcefulness, and spiritual joy that captured my heart. Yes, I thought, this is my community.
Years later, I still look back on those times with a sense of awe - the days when I was fortunate enough to see right in front of me who and what I could be living with my disability. What a gift I was given, a gift that many don't get. It was in such sharp contrast to the everyday struggle I felt, the experience of trying to reinvent the wheel of getting around in a wheelchair, how to deal with access issues, how to work with a disability - and how to maintain any kind of positive attitude in the midst of what I sometimes saw as a series of frustrating experiences - that it seemed like an oasis. Who wouldn't return over and over again to such a place of spiritual abundance?
I am retired now from wheelchair tennis. I do stay in touch with a few close friends. I cherish the memories I have. I'm eternally grateful to those role models who helped me so much in moving on with my life. And I, too, now carry the message of spiritual abundance, thanks to them.
It is a choice, I've discovered. I can fuel the flames of frustration or nurture the abundance. Once experienced, however, there is no real turning back. When I give into frustration, I feel as if I've let myself and others down. This isn't because I fancy myself some type of inspirational figure. To the contrary, I know my foibles and my shortcomings.
It's because I know that living in spiritual abundance, no matter what our circumstances, is a choice. A choice any of us can make. It isn't for a select few. It is for we ordinary folk, the ones who don't stand out, or even up.
I choose spiritual abundance out of love - for myself, for you, for others, for God - when I can. I fail sometimes because I'm human. Sometimes I fail for weeks at a time, or even months. When a friend dies. When I get exhausted. When life becomes hard and I feel like the only person in a wheelchair.
But then something happens. A memory. A chance encounter. And I remember spiritual abundance is a choice.
And I choose it.