It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
The other day, I came across the above poem from my great friend and mentor, the late Mary Oliver. Its opening lines made me stop and think.
“I don’t want to live a small life,” she wrote (and she certainly didn’t). “Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.”
Open your life indeed.
As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close this coming week, and as summer officially gets ready to begin, those words seem like a perfect calling for each of us. It’s a time to look within and ask how we want our lives to move forward.
I know this has been a surreal year so far. And I know it feels somewhat surreal to be re-entering society. Life feels different because it is. We are all different in our own ways. How could we not be? That’s just the truth.
We face a big moment right now, and it’s time for each of us to open our eyes, and to do as Congressman Tim Ryan said so eloquently on the House floor: “If we’re going to rebuild the country, if we’re going to reverse climate change, we need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality.”
Not denial, but reality!
We may have changed presidents, but to me Washington still feels unstable. Calls for impeachment have given way to speeches warning us that our very democracy is at stake. People continue to traffic in lies to undermine our democracy and sow confusion and division. Our country is still polarized. A common set of facts seems to elude us, as does a shared common goal. Our shared democracy feels fragile, as does our shared sense of reality. We must open our eyes.
Last week I wrote about bravery. My brother Timothy said to me afterward, “I think there is something I’m being called to do in this mess, but I can’t figure out what it is.” He then asked me if I thought Liz Cheney went looking for that moment for herself.
“Are you looking?” he queried me further. “Is there some truth we need to stand in more openly?”
I told my brother that I didn’t think Liz Cheney went looking for that moment. She was, however, ready for it when it presented itself. I told him I think that each of us is here to be brave. And when that moment arises, we have to be ready to seize it. In the meantime, we must continue to do the work that we are here to do.
The truth is that none of us are here to live small lives. Not you. Not me. In fact, describing a life as small or big misses the point entirely. Our souls have huge callings and when we live out our calling from a place of truth—from a place of integrity and from a place of love—our souls have tremendous impact. So the next time your mind tells you your life is small, push back against that. The next time your mind tells you you’re small or you’re unimportant or fearful, allow your soul to burst forth. See the love you have as a source of power and goodness.
What I’ve come to know after decades of being on this Earth is that when you see another human being for who they are and love them, that is a huge gift of transformation for a person. You are here to live out beyond labels, out beyond fear. You are here for a reason, so get living.
As we look forward—not to a new normal, but to a new reality—may we each take a moment to look first and foremost at our own lives.
Are we open? Are we ready? Are our hands outstretched? Are we ready to live the life that awaits us? The one that is calling us forth? These are the questions each of us must ask ourselves because we were not meant to lead small lives. No, we are not.
This is the time. This is the moment. Our world needs your presence. It needs your soul to clean up the mess, to light up the sky. The moment is now.
Are you ready?
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Dear God, may I be brave enough to seize this moment. For each is an opportunity to look within and pursue life from a place of truth. May I never take that for granted. Amen.
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