October 25 – To the Core, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
No one lands where they aim. Not even God.
We are so quick to condemn this or exile that, to ostracize the breaker of promises, when the truth is that nothing in nature arrives as imagined. In fact, because the space between what we intend and what we do is often great, we keep beginning. Because the gap between what we feel and what we say is often surprising, we keep trying. Because the field between what we experience and what we understand is so vast, we keep growing.
This is pointedly different from deliberately living contrary to what we believe and say. That is deceit and hypocrisy. But most of the time, we humble creatures simply miss the mark. We aim, mean well, and fall short, or wide, or over reach what we set out to do.
I’ve come to believe that this is all part of the friction of the inner life of things becoming outer. Just as we learn in grade school about refraction, about how a stick placed in water will not stay where we put it, what we feel and think and aim for shifts once entering the world, never quite where we imagine it.
It is, despite our frustration, what makes life interesting and love hard. Each of us gets the chance, repeatedly, to announce, with all the certainty we can muster, our own version of “The world is flat,” only to live into the humility of what has always been true.
When I think of the beliefs I have declared over my lifetime and how they were broken like trees in a storm, or the vows I swore to keep at all cost only to deny knowing God like Peter, or the pride with which I would never kneel only to be brought to my knees by pain—when I accept the fragile way that the human journey unfolds, these become less mistakes and more the way that nature works.
We grow into truth, one self at a time: questioning, declaring, aiming, missing, questioning again. As fruits are all encased until ripe, light comes full term in the dark and truth ripens in the heart. The only way to know the truth is to live through its many casings.