In the fifth chapter of John we find the story of the man healed at the pool of Bethesda. The man laid by the pool, “waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted”.
I have rarely been referred to as an angel but I am often observed to be “stirring things up.” Sometimes it seems to be a positive observation but not always. I have difficulty not speaking up when I see behavior or hear language which I perceive as not honoring others. This inclination is the impetus for Radical Wholeness; as an idea, first appearing in an article and then taking on a ministry of its own. Honestly, I try not to be critical or dissident just for the sake of being disruptive. Others, at times, have felt I was too vocal, too fierce, just too much. I honor their feelings. What excites me about this fifth chapter account in John is the premise inherent in the story that troubling the waters creates an opportunity for healing. Ah! There is the aspiration in my agitation! When I call upon changes in the status quo or remark upon the impact of our habitual unconscious way of thinking and speaking as limiting, I am seeking to move in the direction of the wholeness we were created to express. Isn’t that true healing?
Silence is acquiescence. I want to be a part of revealing divine potential in everyone! I hope to be a light on a path where individuals find their own power and “take up their mat”. For me, this is the activating healing that takes place anytime anyone begins to make decisions and take responsibility for their own lives. No more waiting by the pool for someone else to make my life better. No more telling people they need to be lifted into the pool by others or that they lack what is required to change their lives. Not to confuse the metaphor here of “troubling the waters” but the man was healed without getting into the pool.
Any individual with a label—also called a diagnosis, condition, physical difference—has the opportunity to challenge the limits others associate with a label. There is no label that makes you less worthy of respect and of access to a life of dreams and purpose. Each of us is called to trouble the waters of complacency when we encounter the bias, the prejudice and the oppression of practices and beliefs that would consider anyone broken or less than whole in our essence.
As I reflected on “troubling the waters,” I realized sometimes I have to stir up my own beliefs. It is easy to fall into old patterns of thought. It is convenient to blame others for ingrained messages that I could be “less than” others. Once I shift blame away from myself, I also give away my power to change the message I hear inside my head and claim the divine ideal of wholeness and worthiness which is the truth of my being. Caught in ingrained lies I’ve heard for years, I may consider myself broken and less than whole. I may act in ways that communicates to others I consider myself broken and they simply believe what I tell them. Each of us must take responsibility for the ways in which our challenges arise from our own thoughts, beliefs and choices. Whatever anyone else says about me, if I consider myself broken, this belief will have the most impact on my life. When I am able to touch an awareness of limited beliefs in my mind driving my behavior, I am called to trouble the waters of the pool of my mind and allow healing into my innate, radical wholeness to unfold.
Troubling the waters, whether within my mind or in the activities of the outer world, invites me to be brave, to be strong and to be centered in the peace of faith in a divine power greater than myself. There are times I let the invitation pass by me. I understand I only delay my own good, just as the man waited by the pool for years. Grace is the gift of the Universe to continue to offer invitations for me to trouble the waters and create the opportunity for healing to unfold in me and in the world.