Might Be –
One of the greatest senses we can develop is that of self-awareness. It’s the discipline of being able to look into an existential mirror and see who we really are, no delusion or illusion. We can see ourselves, the good and the not so good, discover what we do well and what needs to be improved.
Most live in a constant state of denial of who they are and/or who they should be. They allow others, culture, reputation, ego, the false self to define them. If we are not self-aware the world has a limitless number of fake identities to slap on us. If we aren’t careful we can settle for these alter-egos and never take off the masks too many wear for a lifetime.
Letting go of who we’ve always thought we should be isn’t easy. There is pain involved on the journey of self-discovery. However, if we dare, the challenges and difficulties can be overcome, the illusions and delusions shattered, and we become what most dare not hope for; at peace.
When we moved into our little house almost eighteen months ago there was a beautiful Weeping Willow tree in our front yard. Last spring it flourished and for half the summer was the glory of our lawn. Then, sometime in late summer, it began to lose its leaves and turn brown. No matter what we tried we couldn’t stop it from shriveling up and becoming a ghost of its former self. We hoped it would bounce back after winter but each time I’d check for signs of life there were none to find. It was dead and we were living in denial. Yesterday, I was able to push it over with my hands and it broke off at the base without a fight.
Last night, Good Friday evening, I sat by a fire being fed with the dead tree. As it burned I listened to, reflected upon and prayed over the familiar story of the Master’s crucifixion, death and burial. I thought about his followers’ denials of knowing him and their pledges of fidelity and courage in the face of persecutions wilt and die in frightening reality.
Denial. Like the tree, and the disciples, we are able to fool ourselves much of the time. Usually it takes death to reveal our delusion. The death of a dream, a job, the idea of our invincibility, our elusive control, a loved one or the myriad of other illusions we grab onto and trust in to make us feel safe and sane reveal a truth about us.
When these are taken away and our denial is unmasked what are we left with? This may be the greatest, most important question of all.