Permission Slips

Today is a holiday…but many folks have to work.

It’s a holiday in honor of one of the greatest Americans ever born, Martin Luther King Jr. He helped lead a movement that compelled the nation to take seriously its founding ideals, that “ALL men (including women) are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” We have a holiday in his honor, and while no one argues with taking a day off…the importance of his life’s work, in this particular moment of American history, seems largely up for debate.

There was a big snow storm yesterday, and even if that allowed a day of rest and relaxation at home…today the roads are clear, the world is ready to move on, and we’re all expected to get back to “normal.” Even if “normal” is exhausting and complicated and doesn’t invite us to be our best selves.

Why is it that natural storms and disasters give us permission to separate ourselves from the stresses and strains of our society…but we don’t give ourselves that same permission on a daily basis? Why is it that certain holidays allow us to embrace our highest ideals, even though it’s easy to set them aside the other 6 days of the week? Do we allocate as much time for the work that God is calling us to do as we do for the work we are paid to do?

Time and time again, we need to be granted permission to be our best, to live our Truth, to care for ourselves, to prioritize the well being of God’s Beloved Children. Every day seems to bring with it more reasons to let go of what we care about most, to ignore what is resonating with our souls. What if…instead of sacrificing parts of ourselves for the sake of avoiding conflict with others…we gave ourselves permission to live as The Divine calls us to live?

It’s said that Rabbi Akiva, who lived between 50 CE and 135 CE, taught that God’s law was “to love your neighbor as yourself…and the rest is commentary.”

The world gives us infinite reasons to argue against this, or to explain away our motivations.

Maybe you need permission to love your neighbor as yourself.

Maybe you need permission to love yourself better, so that you can love your neighbor better.

Maybe you need permission to get out of the noisy comments and complicated background noise…to get back to basics.

Whatever permission you need today…I pray that you know…it is granted. God has given you ultimate freedom of choice in this world…the freedom to choose from good and bad, to choose between sin and grace, to opt for love when the world preaches division.

If I could sign a piece of paper that grants this permission to you…I would. But hopefully it’s enough to know that the Divine Creator of all that is desires nothing more than for love and life to flourish across the planet. Every day of the year.

Brian Gruhn