Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Quest

The older I become the more fascinated I become by the ebbs and flows of our lives.  The choreography of entrances and exits are particularly poignant and surprising.  Sometimes there is great forshadowing leaving the observers, the dancers, the actors, or any involved with great understanding- when other times, a key character seemes to simply vanish or, becomes violently ripped from the masterpiece.  No one likes their favorite characters taken away.  As I watch the stage in hopeful anticipation for the return of a loved character I realize that perhaps their last exit was just that- the last.

I heard once that it is a mercy of God that we do not know the future.  As much as I try to divinate the future at times, I truly honor this saying.  There are a great many moments of my life where I know I could not have handled the anticipation for the experience.  The simple fear of that event would have caused a change in course.  There are many moments I was able to endure simply because I did not know how many pages that scene would last.  Hoping the end must be around the next corner.  And if I knew the future and avoided the cruxes of life where would I be?  How much joy would I sacrifice to avoid the pain?  How much strength and character would I lose? 
Human fraility is a particular source of challenge and suffering which has been a frequent source of my thoughts of late. Most poignantly my own and then secondly others. I realize no one is perfect and we are all learning.  I am left thinking how much compassion and forgiveness we need to have for each other as humans. Even at our best we are still so full of flaws that love for our fellowmen is essential to fill in the gaps- otherwise there is no hope for anyone. Where my human frailites and anothers collide can be a disaster- and perhaps some disasters are beyond the repair of love- but at least forgiveness and understanding, that we are all subject to our imperfections, can soften the heart. And most importantly-applying these thoughts to myself not just toward others. 

But knowing that does not make it any less excrutiating to watch my faults and weakness unfold with consequential results.  And to allow those mistakes to remain in the past and not dig them up and relive them seems a monumental task.  An extreme paraphrase from a Joe Goode concert- "I wish I had no memory. Then I would be free to experience each moment new- each meal, each place, each person.  But instead these moments are mixed with memories so I am no longer in the present but caught somewhere in between the past and present."  How eye opening for me to hear this.  How guilty am I of attaching my past onto my present!  A great weakness of mine is not being able to let go.  Why do I hold on- only to impede the present by attempting to hold to the past- past people, past mistakes, past joys, past pains...  Maybe if I let go I think it will be as if it never existed and I want the validity of its existance. Or I am afraid I will forget the lessons of the past-or I have yet to atone enough for the mistakes.  Or- I'm not sure...  But I do know- I love the idea of coming to a moment without the attachment of the past and just being able to experience it.  This must be part of the joy of being a child.  Accomplishing this will require accepting my weaknesses and forgiving myself enough to let the past live in the moment of its creation and not try to carry it with me.  And accepting carrying the joys of the past into the future does not protect them- it actually taints them.   Respecting the past in its rightful place and not being afraid of living and experiencing the present-This is a quest.