I've been thinking about a quote from Parker Palmer, who is a man who encourages me to think about how I think. It is a little bit like the gift of curiosity and surprise—how can we get ourselves to think outside of the box and be curious and surprised by what we don't know yet…?
Sometimes it helps to read the ideas of a great thinker who lives in a different "circle"...to help us find our closed windows—windows we need to be curious about and open to new ideas.
According to Dr. Debbie Hawker, people who choose to take their own lives are known by psychologists as people who are not good at finding solutions. Their choice to end their lives may be an expression that they can't figure out ways to resolve a problem they face—they've lost the energy for creative solution seeking. We do well to cultivate the need for "out of the box" thinking, good problem solving, before we reach a place of futility and despair. This, too, is part of finding those hidden windows and stirring up the curiosity to open them to new ways of living, thinking, being.
So reading someone who sees something we (think we) know about, but from a completely different perspective, could be a pragmatic endeavour. Parker Palmer is that person for me. He walks in different streams of faith and helps me find fresh perspectives. Here is a quote from him on the topic of the Word becoming Flesh—Jesus becoming human... that words, airy ideas, can be brought to life through our own physical presence. Not only was Jesus God's Word, but we also bring words to reality by how live.
"What good words wait to be born in us, and how can we love one another in ways that midwife their incarnation?" That is my quote from PP.—and just to clarify, I think he means the incarnation of our "good words"—not the person we are loving.
If you have a word you feel is special or life-giving for you to pursue in this new year, what are you going to do to assist the incarnation of that word in a way that shows love to those around you? Is this what the story of Christ is about? That the "esoteric ideals" we hold precious—hope, peace, kindness, generosity, redemption—have to become a part of who we are as we walk the landscape of this human community we all participate in?
I like this challenge. I, too, get to bring a word to life. I get to express something of invisible value to those I meet.
I need to think about it and take some time to reflect—because if this is going to happen, if I am going to be a living expression of a word that is part of Life and Love—then it most certainly is going to begin in my thoughts and intentions.
And this effort, this intention...this modification to my internal compass...this makes me part of the solution. And isn't that always a good place to be directing our gaze?
I write on how humans develop and grow through challenges we face. I've divided this into three categories--Growing Love is about relationships and how we create conditions for growth despite the inevitable challenges. Cloudburst is about grief, specifically—which is a tricky topic. We need to keep growing but pushing is the opposite of helpful. And in Dancing on Hot Sand I talk about personal inner growth in hard places—spiritual growth, without sounding religious, I hope.