The spring of our life

“The face of afraid keeps changing constantly, and I can count on that change.  I need to travel light and fast, and there’s a lot of baggage I’m going to have to leave behind me.  Jettison cargo.”*
(Audre Lorde)

Audre Lorde is reflecting on her decision not to have a biopsy for treatment for suspected liver cancer.  Instead she sets out from the United States on a teaching trip to Europe.  She also sets out to capture her feelings of fear in her diary.  Lorde catches my attention with her decision to travel light, to jettison cargo, at what was the most difficult point in her life.   She continues:

“I am saving my life by using my life in the service of what must be done.  Tonight as I listened to the ANC speakers from South Africa at the Third World People’s Centre here, I was filled with a sense of self-answering necessity, of commitment as a survival weapon.  Our battles are inseparable.  Every person I have ever been must be actively enlisted in those battles, as well as in the battle to save my life.”*

Lorde causes me to think about how we need to bring together the fullness of who we are and to live for a purpose greater than ourselves.  We save ourselves in saving others.  I cannot live someone else’s life, nor can they live mine.  I can go to the spring of my life, I can only walk with others in their discovery of the spring of theirs:

“Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name. Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which You planted in me at my making.”**

Many things that obstruct the life that wants to flow from the springs of our lives – the things we must “jettison.”  They are different for each of us, but perhaps a common obstruction is the notion that others have a better chance than we do, they have what we do not have.  But it doesn’t matter what others have, only what you have.

I began this morning reading words on curiosity from Hugh Macleod.  Macleod describes a world available to us that was never available to other generations.  Once we have found our curiosity, we can find everything else we need:

‘With all of mankind’s information available at your fingertips, almost anything is knowable. It is something that we have quickly taken for granted. So, being that we are now able to feed our curiosity at any time and in any amount, what is it all for?’^

(*Audre Lorde, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: A Burst of Light.)
(**George Appleton, quote in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^From gapingvoid’s blog: Curiosity is as important as intelligence.)



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