Patiently impatient

Perhaps the life we long for is beyond the point of no return.*
(Erwin McManus)

Some things we have only as they remain lost, some things are not lost only so long as they are distant.**
(Rebecca Solnit)

I took a moment to gaze at the beautiful dark cloud-mottled sky this morning as it waited for the arrival of the dawn.


Wonder cannot be rushed.

We have to slow down to wonder.

I then read these words from John O’Donohue:

‘The sense of wonder can also help you to recognise and appreciate the mystery of your own life.’^

Whether the object of our wonder be without or within, it will not appear quickly:

‘But most of the turns, we don’t even see.  We’ve trained ourselves to ignore the. […] a choice isn’t often easy.  In fact the best ones rarely are.’^^

Choice is freedom and it comes from noticing more.  When we see more, we feel more, and when we feel more, we are able to do more.

Rebecca Solnit’s words, above, come from her reflecting on how the blue of distance disappears as we move towards it.

This blueness is a thing.  And it is not only a physical phenomenon but also a metaphor for our lives as we journey from here to there.

I take a moment to look up from Solnit’s words and the sky is ablaze with colour as the sun fires with orange the underside of the clouds.  I cannot keep this picture alive.  The sun will rise and the colour will evaporate, and will have to turn away and get on with my day.  But for a moment longer I stare.

Alan Lightman catches my attention as he writes about Absolutes.  He has been lying in a boat staring up at the stars:

‘I felt connected not only to the stars but to all of nature, and to the entire cosmos.  I felt a merging with something far larger than myself, a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute.’*^

As a theoretical physicist, Lightman knows what these stars are made of and yet there is more to Absolutes than the physical:

‘Absolutes are rooted in personal experience, but they involve beliefs beyond that experience.  A fascinating feature of Absolutes – in fact, a defining feature – is that there is no way to get there from here, that is, from within the physical world.  There is no gradual, step-by-step path to go from relative truth to absolute truth, or to go from a long period of time to eternity, or from limited wisdom to the infinite wisdom of God.  The infinite is not merely a lot more of the finite.  Indeed the unattainability of the Absolutes may be part of their allure.’*^

I found myself thinking about how, whilst I am able to help people explore their dreams and identify their talents and help them choose the next steps, they will not automatically find their purpose and meaning within the universe.

Perhaps, on the way, something else happens?  If I slow down, if I take time to gaze awhile into the blueness.

I used to describe myself within the organisation I worked for more than thirty years as being patiently impatient.  I wanted things to happen but I was prepared to wait for the right time. Looking back, I don’t think I understood or found the rhythm for this.  Maybe now things are different.

The sunrise and its colourful garments are now passed but maybe something of its wonder has seeped into me, just a little, and maybe it has touched my soul a smidgen – this absolute me.

(*From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(**From Rebecca Slnoit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.)
(^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s blog: Degrees of Freedom.)
(*^From Alan Lightman’s Searching For Stars on an Island in Maine.)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.