The summary and the full story

It is very difficult to practice what we agree in theory. And it is very difficult to be modest in our scorn of the gap between what we dream and what we do, and to persevere patiently in our efforts to bridge it. This battle is daily and specific and basic.*
(M. C. Richards)

Often it’s the growth we can’t see that is the making of us.**
(Bernadette Jiwa)

The summary is often neater and more impressive than the full story which contains a lot of messiness and failure and fragility. Both are important if we use them in the right way.

A summary allows us to appreciate what has been achieved, how far we have come, but the big problems, including problems of personal development, cannot be solved summarily. The important turns and moves, the difficulty and the mess of closing the gap between dream and reality has need of the full account, to which we bring our strongest ways of reflection.

Erwin McManus, exploring the way of the warrior as a means of finding peace within and peace without our lives, understands the value of being someone prepared to tell the whole story:

The warrior […] understands that wisdom is not gained in a moment but in an endless number of moments in which choices must be made.^

(*From M. C. Richards’ Centering.)
(**From The Story of Telling: Imperceptible Growth.)

(^From Erwin McManus’ The Way of the Warrior.)

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