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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Outside our kitchen window, beside the front door is a bird’s nest under a wooden box. Inside this nest are several baby birds that apparently need a lot of attention. Because of where they are situated we can hear them every time they begin to cry for their parents and believe me when I write; “We can hear them!” They also cry each time we go out the front door because of the vibration. I want to pick the box up and look at them. I want to tell them to; “Pipe down! and give mom and dad a break!” However, I dare not risk disturbing the nest, the birds or frighten off the parents during this delicate time of growth.
As I type this post I am listening to the baby birds and reflecting on the needs of those around us. When we hear the needy cry we want to run to their rescue, free them from anything that might be holding them back and give them whatever they need whenever they need it. This sounds like what any person with empathy and a heart would do but can inhibit their growth. We should be careful not to let our emotions get ahead of us. The best case scenario is working with them, helping them so that, eventually, they can help themselves. If we come running each and every time they cry, giving them what they want, never teaching them how to make it without assistance, they will never learn to do and be.
One day soon the mom and dad will stop coming to the nest and the baby birds will have to make it on their own. When that day comes mom and dad’s skills at being parents for their needy ones will be revealed.
Last night I watched the “The Post” starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The film is described as; “thrilling, based on a true story. Determined to uphold the nation’s civil liberties, Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of The Washington Post, and hard-nosed editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up. But the two must risk their careers –– and their freedom –– to bring truth to light in this powerful film (https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-post).” It was an interesting movie dealing with an historic and chaotic time in this nation that I am too young to remember. I did find myself cheering Streep’s and Hank’s characters on as they took a case of the freedom of the press all the way to the Supreme Court. I won’t spoil the ending but it was a good watch and worth anyone’s time who is interested in an event that would directly impact how the press covered the Watergate break-in (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal) and news moving forward to the present.
What I’ve wrestled with since watching the movie is; “News exists in a vacuüm. The lives of the reporters, editors, and publishers are swayed by their political leanings, experiences, preferences, and worldviews.” We as the readers face the same limitation in our consumption of news. There are so many places to receive our news today that we can stay perpetually stuck in a bubble where only our viewpoints are legitimized. When this happens we cease being open to new ideas or our current ones being scrutinized and challenged. We become entombed, trapped by our own beliefs and limited knowledge. The truth isn’t important anymore only our belief of what is true.
Vulnerability or Weakness? –
I was talking with someone today about the difference between weakness and vulnerability when it comes to relationships.
Weakness is not having power. An inability to stop, inhibit, make someone quit or start a particular behavior. Weakness is not being able to choose.
Vulnerability, however, is having the strength to do or not do a particular behavior. Vulnerability comes from a place of power a place of being able to choose.
When we are weak in a relationship it means the other has power over us. We are at their mercy, control and cannot choose another way.
When we are vulnerable it means we have power but can choose to approach, love, be with the other in a place that puts us at risk.
If we need to be in control at all times, dominate the other with reminders of our power we will never know true love and intimacy. Both of these come from a place that bears an inherent risk; to be wounded, to be left powerless.
Weakness and vulnerability. Knowing and practicing the difference can mean a life of togetherness and equality or isolation and loneliness.
Is it Love? –
“Love is what love does now. It is revealed in the practice of loving presence and action now. Humble acts of everyday kindness, acts that do not encourage attention on the actor, these are what grow us in love.” #LaurenceFreeman
This quote was part of my Morning Office reading today. As I’ve reflected on these words they have echoed in my spirit. “Love” is a word which is thrown around so much it has almost lost its meaning. People tell their partners, spouses, children, family and friends; “I love you,” but also speak of our “love” for chocolate, cellphones, hobbies and clothes. We use the phrase in increasingly flippant and cheap ways for insignificant things.
Love is accompanied by action and love is in the present moment. I’ve wondered today; “can we love in the past? The future?” We can reflect upon what has been, what may be and embrace the emotions which accompany these memories and hopes but is it love if not expressed tangibly?
“Loving” and trying to receive “love” from inanimate objects, material things, will only leave us empty, trying in vain to grasp contentment and fulfillment from that which can never satisfy our deepest longing.
To love is to act presently, to give without expectation of return, to offer ourselves in humility and vulnerability. Love does not seek our good but the good of the one who is loved. It is to risk being harmed, betrayed, taken advantage of, and left empty. However, it also comes with the possibility of being loved in return, the greatest gift we can accept and experience.
Last winter the Mrs. and I bought four Baby Blue Spruces and placed them in nice decorative pots. We thought they’d give the house a sense of the holiday seasons and they did. However, now that the spring season has arrived in full force our little Christmas trees aren’t so small and are quickly out growing their present place. So, this morning, I planted them in the front yard. Now they have as much room to flourish as they need. The trees are beautiful and we’re a little nervous about their ability to adapt and grow in their new location but we realize they can’t stay in the safety of their decorative pots any longer.
As I dug the holes for each tree I thought about the wisdom teaching that there are seasons in our lives when our present location is perfect for growth and maturity. However, there will also come a time when we’ll need to make the choice to risk the comfort and safety of what we know, move into the unknown and hope for the chance to flourish and grow as never before.
This morning, after stopping by a store for a few items, I spied a sign outside a dilapidated building advertising used/antique items for sale. I placed the bags in my truck and began to walk over to investigate. As I was exiting the parking lot I almost ran into a thin wire fence separating the properties. I thought about turning around but after avoiding getting stuck, I found a way through and made it to the little flea market wannabe.
After visiting the store and making my way back to the truck I thought about the wired fence and the obstacles we face on the way to our desired destinations. It’s tempting to choose to turn around other than risk being hurt or making the effort to find a more difficult way.
The question becomes how much are we willing to risk to get where we want/need to go?