Make Sure the Water’s Deep Enough –
In a conversation this week I heard someone say; “Make sure the water’s deep enough before you jump off the bridge.” I hadn’t heard this saying before and found it interesting. It seems to be about planning, understanding, knowledge of a situation before you choose a course of action. As I reflected on it I also thought of NOT knowing how deep the water is before jumping. Maybe it’s deep enough, maybe it isn’t, but once a person decides to jump it’s too late to change one’s mind.
Wisdom tells us the key to gaining wisdom is knowing you know nothing. It’s a paradox. Obviously there are things we know but we approach wisdom with humility understanding whatever our wisdom level might be we are still not wise compared to knowing all things as they truly are and exist. There are bridges we can jump off of with confidence, others where we know not to jump, and there will always be bridges when we risk jumping or choose another way.
Sometimes its only after we jump into the unknown that we find the water is more than deep enough and wisdom reminds us again how much we still have to learn.
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He’s Somebody –
Last week I wrote about replacing grocery store carts in their rightful place even if I wasn’t the one who left it in the middle of a parking lot. (https://thewannabesaint.com/2018/07/26/youre-somebody-2/) This week, same time, same store, same parking lot I had finished buying supplies for a dad’s community group and pushed my grocery cart against the front of my truck. As I unloaded the cart I saw a gentleman, in a car next to me, waiting. When I finished retrieving the items from the cart the man got out of his car and grabbed my cart and began pushing it towards the store’s entrance. I figured he needed the cart and this was easier than getting another one from the cart bin. To my surprise, he wheeled it over to the bin, pushed in the cart, and then went into the store. He was somebody! (see last week’s post in the link above)
It’s striking when we see a wisdom lesson we are learning, or re-learning, put into practice before our eyes by another. It reminds us that the path we walk, though unique to us, is also traveled by others. It’s a paradox but so is truth.
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I was reading an excerpt from a book by #LaurenceFreeman this past week. One sentence has stuck with me; “Answers are not what we need. What we need are questions which cannot be answered.” I read and reread this selection many times.
We live in a world, perhaps humanity is made this way by our cultures and societies, in which answers are what we seek and find. While certainly, we would want answers, conclusions, discoveries, of the sort which would end poverty, crime, diseases, however, the most important answers are the ones which cannot be answered.
This is a paradox. Answers comfort us, direct us, help us find our way in the world. However, answers do not lead us to the most important of all truths. God, for example, is by definition, one who cannot be fully and completely known. The deeper we dig to find knowledge of God the more questions we find. It is the same with our existence, our purpose our place in the universe.
Silence as the answer to life’s biggest questions. Many say if you cannot or will not look for the answer then why ask the question? It is when we are able to be still and silent in our souls with the greatest questions unanswered that we find the path of wisdom.
“par·a·dox” –perəˌdäks – a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.
I listened to a speaker today talk about his father who was a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. He talked about how his father and a German guard became friends over their interest in fishing.
One day the guard told him he was having troubles with his bowels and to go to the bathroom immediately. The speaker’s father was confused but listened, went to the bathroom and came out several minutes later to find all the other Jewish prisoners had been taken to one of the notorious gas chambers the Germans used to kill millions of Jewish people. His friend, the guard, upon seeing him said; “You are the only Jew left. You should leave. The speaker’s father walked out of the camp and went back to his home. “This is a paradox,” said the speaker. The German guard knew the other Jewish people, human beings, placed on the train were going to die but still chose to save his friend.
Human beings are walking, talking, breathing, skin encased paradoxes. We are tough to figure out. We do what we don’t want to do sometimes and don’t do what we should. We take stands for things which don’t really matter and shrink from the spotlight on the most important. Brennan Manning, one of my favorite authors, wrote; “I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.” He was a priest, an oblate, and a recovering alcoholic.
We are all paradoxes and have that in common with one another. There are a plethora of beliefs, convictions, and certainties we hold that unite us and divide us. However, we are also, every one of us, human beings and this truth should overcome everything else.