by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
The other night, I was downstairs in my kitchen getting a drink of water when I noticed a little fly in the corner of the window over the sink. I usually don’t like flies in my house; my “deal” with them has always been, “If you remain outside, you live, but inside…well, that’s another story.” Frankly, I was too tired to bother and figured this little fellow’s life usually isn’t that long, so I’d give him a reprieve, and I went to bed.
The following day I was surprised to see that same fly in the same corner of the window, still attempting his fruitless effort to get out. He would never penetrate through the window, and my heart went out to him. I decided I would help him escape by showing him the way to freedom. My windows don’t open upward, but to the side. As I slid the window open and pushed the screen up so the fly could escape, I began gently pushing him around the window to the open air. But that silly fly would not take my help and kept returning to that window corner where no escape was possible.
I tried several ways to make him see the error of his ways: talking to him, sliding the window in front of him, pushing him numerous times with my finger, and even telepathically joining with him. No use! He was stuck in his pattern, and frankly, I was stuck in mine.
Finally, I thought, why don’t I ask the Holy Spirit for help? A Course in Miracles consistently states that the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to help us, and no problem is too small or too large. So why not ask for help with even this little fly? I stilled my mind and asked silently, “What would you have me do?”
The answer was simply miraculous! It came immediately, and it was so simple! I realized that I could slide the window all the way past the fly, which allowed his place in the corner of the window to be right where the open screen would be. I did this and used my hand to encourage him to move in that direction; he quickly flew to freedom.
At that moment, I truly felt free as well! The Course tells us that when we release anyone, freedom is found for both. Now, the Course is not necessarily talking about physical release and freedom; it’s speaking more about releasing our imprisoning thoughts about another. In a way, though, that’s exactly what I did for myself and the fly. I think that’s why his release felt so good and freeing for me.
This little fly gave me a chance to do what all my years of studying had asked me to do: stop, be still, and let healing come.”
It became clear to me that this little fly represented a bigger lesson. How many times had I tried to be helpful to someone — thinking that I knew how to help them, yet they did not take my advice or direction? They clung to their old ways and patterns, which I could see would not work, just as the fly clung to his corner of the window. I would often get frustrated and angry with them and maybe even give up on them. This little fly gave me a chance to do what all my years of studying had asked me to do: stop, be still, and let healing come. I was willing to see that my way was not the answer, and I could let go of my judgment that the fly’s way would never work and be open to an answer that would bring healing release to both of us if I was willing to let it come.
Ultimately, my desire to help and the fly’s need to stay in his corner were the perfect combination. He needed to be exactly where he was for his release, and I needed to listen. My original solution would not have worked for him, so if I wanted to help, I had to move from my place of seeming “rightness” to a place where I did not know but was willing to learn. This place is really the space in our minds where we step back from the frenzy of the world and experience the peace and power of God. Here’s the Course’s counsel…
“Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:
I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.
By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him.” (T-14.XI.6)
It’s not always easy to step back, be quiet in a situation, or let go of years of seeming “rightness” for the possibility of a new way, but it is miraculous!
We are guaranteed in the Course that our healing is not only possible but inevitable. To me, this means the problems of the world, just like the walls of Jericho, will come tumbling down, and a miracle of healing will take their place. All the things causing us problems will not necessarily disappear, but our minds will be moved to a place where we can see the answer so clearly that the seeming problems are no longer an issue. As the Course reminds us, “A miracle has come to heal God’s Son, and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release.” (T-31.VIII.6)
Amazing, all that came from a fly! Now, that IS a miracle.