Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Things on My Mind as Another Year Commences

I would assert that true discernment of vocation is really about this:
           "Those who love a cause are those who love the life which has to be led in order to serve it.
~ Simone Weil

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."

~ African proverb

(Quoted by Robert J. Wicks at the beginning of Crossing the Desert)

For three years people have urged me to see that there is wisdom to be gained from catastrophe.  I have resisted that suggestion, with its implication that the value of what is gained somehow compensates for what has been lost ~ resisted it with all my might.  But now I understand: there is no fair trade, no equitable exchange.  Small nuggets of wisdom come at great cost.  Among those nuggets: the knowledge that I would not choose to go panning for them. 


I shudder to think what might be on my mind another twenty birthdays from now.  But ~ perhaps that is how long it takes to make peace with the life one loves, the rough seas, and the imbalance of exchange.


  1. Well said, Robin. In my mind, the perspective I've gained has come at a high and painful cost, and much of it leaves me disappointed in many of the qualities of the human race. Sad, but true. Compensation is woefully tipped away from much benefit on my part.

  2. Ah. The "implication that the value of what is gained somehow compensates for what has been lost" is worth resisting, because that implication is not true. As you say, there is no "equitable exchange" - there is just life, messy, bumpy, uneven, beautiful AND painful. It seems to me that it takes time to get through my shock and anger at "the facts of life," before I can rest in gratitude for all that has been given out of the richness of God's Love. Sometimes the shock & anger coincide with gratitude. It's messy - but it's the life we've been given.

    We have reason to be patient with ourselves, our neighbors and with God.

    It's so interesting that what life has turned out to be is not what I was taught - or, I misunderstood so much of what was taught. I am having to learn so much anew, all the time. Love to you...

  3. Is today your birthday? I wish you well. Very well. And know that I know that well is not fixed, or cured, or whole, or necessarily happy.

    I do not think that wisdom gained from catastrophe is part of a trade. It is just simply a treasure that only appears upon such a break. Think of a geode.

    I think many of us can learn wonderful things, and much wisdom, in ways that do not also crush us.

    But sometimes the crushing happens.

    And, from where I sit, which is far, far away from your catastrophe... it seems to me that you, by going through and surviving and writing and being willing to share yourself in it, you provide a strand of hope that would not otherwise be in this world.

    Remember, I'm Catholic. And so must always have that crucifixion, not just cross, in front of me. I am well aware that my life in NO WAY mirrors that of Christ.

    Yours does.

    Thank you for teaching me with your life.


  4. Cindy: You might be overstating things a bit. But thank you for the comments.

  5. Never! :) I never overstate things.

    A bit.