Way Opens! –Quaker Proverb
Greenleaf writes: No one can judge, from where one now stands, how difficult the next step along the road of . . . growth will be. …We cannot assume with assurance that we are relatively advantaged or disadvantaged for any stage of the inward journey.
To be on with the journey one must have an attitude toward loss and being lost…however painful the impact is seen to be it does not appear as senseless or destructive. Rather the losses are seen as opening the way for new creative acts, for the receiving of priceless gifts. Loss…creates a vacuum into which will come (if allowed) something new and fresh and beautiful, something unforeseen… The source of this attitude of loss and being lost is ‘faith’… faith in the wisdom of the great events of one’s history, events in which one’s potential for nobility has been tested and refined; faith in doubt, in inquiry, and in the rebirth of wisdom… By these means mortals are raised above the possibility of hurt. They will suffer, but they will not be hurt because each loss grants them the opportunity to be greater than before. Loss, by itself, is not tragic. What is tragic is the failure to grasp the opportunity which loss presents.
Today is the fourth day of the New Year. I sit here a bit stunned that this New Year is 2020…as I think about it I am more than a ‘bit’ stunned! When I read this quotation from Greenleaf I thought it would be an appropriate one for us to reflect upon at this time, early in the New Year.
Some folks ring in the New Year with wine, some with resolutions (new or old), some with hope, some with despair, some with faith, some with resignation, some in good health and some with failing health; some grieving a loss.
For each of us the New Year will present us with difficult steps – for some the steps will be few and for others the steps will come rolling up upon them like a tsunami. For some their inward journey would have prepared them to take the steps with confidence (from a small bit of confidence to a great deal of confidence); for some their lack of inward preparation will leave them without the resources (faith, hope, love, courage/heart) so that even the smallest step will whelm them over.
I think I can safely assume that each of us has experienced ‘loss’ this past year. How we respond to the loss is, as Greenleaf notes, crucial to our well-being; and it is crucial as to how we will take — or resist taking — the next step(s) on our life’s journey. As we grieve our loss (if indeed our loss will require our grieving) will we also be opening space for a ‘way to open’? Will we get ‘stuck’ in our grief and hence not be able to take another, much less ‘the next,’ step? Will we, as Greenleaf noted, ‘suffer but not be hurt’ by the loss? – A powerful question, I think.
Am I willing to grieve my loss(es) AND discern and ‘grasp the opportunity which loss presents’? For me, this continues to be a disturbing question and a most daunting of challenge.
Way Closes! –Quaker Proverb