“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
~ Hellen Keller
The upending of our lives by the pandemic has pointed starkly to the fact that life is uncertain and that underlying everything is that we don't know what is going to happen next.
Of course this was true before the pandemic and it will be true after the pandemic, but at least we had the illusion of continuity. There was not the blatent insecurity we are confronted with now.
As human beings it is true that we lack control over our circumstances. Anything can happen at any time from natural disaster to a personal health crisis. We don't have control. And all the trappings of civilization are a crude attempt at control. I can't wave a wand and make the coronavirus go away, but the unique super power we all possess is that we have language. And language gives us some choice in the matter of who we constitute ourselves to BE.
To loosely quote Werner Ehrhardt "there is what happens and then there is the interpretation that gets added." The power lies within the noticing of the language we are using -- what are we adding or put another way "what gets added automatically as a function of the linguistic soup we are immersed in."
Which allows me to segue quite nicely into Quaker Silence. Oddly, speaking and not speaking are powerfully tied. In silence we have the unique opportunity to notice.
It is possible to go from being the observer to the observed.
STOP ... WAIT ... LISTEN ... RINSE ... REPEAT ...
Can you separate the observation of what is happening from the meaning you add to it? Just that little observational practice gets us a little distance from all the judgments and assessments about what is and gives us a place to stand where we can actually generate a little creativity, flexibility and power. (and by power I don't mean force -- I'm talking about the power that comes from being able to think beyond language boxes)
Queries on Uncertainty
I choose creativity, invention, and flexibility in these times -- and you?
I'm a Quaker and I also consider myself a Christian. I realize Quakerism is a big tent and that might not land for some, but there is a story inside the crucifixion that I think is universal.
It is the story of forgiveness.
Before Jesus gave up his spirit he uttered these words:
"When they came to the place called Golgotha, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His garments by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”…
~ Luke 23:34
Can you imagine the scene? Could you place yourself there and still through all the suffering have the capacity for forgiveness?
There are many mysteries inside of the death and resurrection story, but this one ... this act of forgiveness is powerful.
What does forgiveness give us access to that we would be otherwise cut off from? I can think of a few. Maybe readers can imagine others.
I can think of many stories of people "done wrong" who held on to anger for years and it hollowed them out. Dr. Bernie Siegal, a cancer doctor, the author of Love, Medicine, & Miracles shared many stories of patients who activated their healing powers through the power of forgiveness.
This Easter I invite all of us to consider the following queries:
I am writing this on Saturday. The tomb is still closed. Love is coming. Let us roll away the stone on Sunday and find forgiveness in our hearts.
With each spring the peepers make their song
Slowly as the evenings warm their voices rise
Signaling spring and the vibrancy of life around us.
We lost a song this spring -- Gene's song.
His note will climb with the others but rise upward to the heavens
We notice it missing, but shall always remember the sound.
A note that clings to us as we remain separated.
A song that reminds of community and solidarity.
A signal clear and piercing amid the noise.
I shall always hear your song amid the evening song of the peepers
You can continue to sing to me -- I will listen.
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