Permission Granted - Joanby Miracle Chasers on 08/26/18
"Don't ask permission, beg forgiveness." It's what we tell our summer guests as the only house rule. It may seem simple, but what I have come to realize is that permission is a funny thing. When we were kids, we needed a lot of permission: permission to leave the dinner table, permission to take out the car, permission to borrow a necklace or hair ribbon. Permission was the ubiquitous elephant in the room you could never get around.
We don't ask permission that much any more, and yet, while our moral norms have broadened in some ways (i.e., I can now wear pants anywhere, LOL), we have, in fact, become more stifled as the list of things we can't talk about is growing daily. Politics is definite dinner party stopper, as is right to life or right to death, gun control, the military; even world peace seems fraught with politically correct innuendo. So it is no surprise that any discussion of the supernatural raises eyebrows.
It's a reason why people look for a special place to explore the miraculous, and why we continue to be asked to speak about miracles. Once we share our own miracle stories, others feel comfortable opening up and disclosing theirs. We give them permission, not in so many words, but through our actions where it counts.
It seems now, often instead of granting permission, we've moved into a restrictive realm of what you can and cannot do. I was reminded of that recently while buying birthday candles for my mom's 95th birthday cake. Striking up a conversation with the floor sweeper in the bakery, she mentioned her own grandmother, who at 95 was making up her own rules of what she could do (much to the concern of her adult children.) Since the woman lived until well past 105, the philosopher floor sweeper confided in me that that was the secret: just do what you can do, for as long as you can do it - no permission needed. It sounded like an effective strategy, so I started to look around for other examples.
In reading David Baron's wonderful book American Eclipse, he writes about Maria Mitchell of Nantucket who was a noted astronomer and professor at Vassar. She didn't seek permission to take her group of females across the country to Denver in 1879 to study the total solar eclipse, she just did it; even after the government declined their funding believing women were too fragile to make the tedious trip. Yet, it is in the doing where we find the wonder, the joy and inspiration for others.
Too many times we hold back from following our plans and dreams for fear of what others might think or we wait for permission that will never come. Instead, we must remember to be bold. And when we have doubts, which will surely come as we try something new, whether it's following our heart, stepping outside the box or even speaking of miracles, it helps to keep Goethe's words close to our soul and believe that once you begin: Yes, YOU Can. Permission Granted. (Joan)