limited

My response to this word feels like pure grace. Contained with its seven letters is the simple invitation for me to remember who i am.

While often the invitation to ‘remember who you are‘ is extended to uplift one who is feeling diminished in some way — as a reminder for instance of how beloved they truly are (eg “little lower than the angels and crowned with glory”, or “O, nobly born, remember the fundamental dignity that was born into you”), an appeal for them to reclaim their birthright as bearers of something divine — this evening ‘remembering who i am‘ feels much smaller than that, a bringing me down to earth, a remembrance of my humanity.

I am as blessed by that remembrance as I am by the remembrance of my sacredness. It is good to remember my smallness. Good to recall that I cannot be Godde, nor even Godde incarnate. An antidote for feeling overwhelmed, for feeling powerless, for feeling not-enoughness, remembering my humanity heals my feelings of inadequacy and shame.

It is good to know I have boundaries and to bless them. Boundaries of body. Boundaries of time. Boundaries of energy and gift. To know that I am but one within and beheld by the One, even while holding the hope that the Love is somehow embodied and working through this particular me in some small enough way.

In the last few weeks, I have had to say ‘no’ to quite a few invitations. While a part of me longed to rush into them, in order to say ‘yes’ required me saying ‘no’ to other equally beloved relationships and/or ideals. Carrying around the weight of those choices was difficult and even felt heartbreaking. But what i discovered is that when i finally let go and accepted my ‘no’, the heaviness lifted almost at once.

I am a finite being and, no, despite what the culture teaches, I cannot do it all, have it all, be it all. I am not all powerful nor all knowing. Thinking that I should be makes me a little neurotic, a lot anxious, and mostly feel like a huge failure. I cannot begin to recount the number of times the word ‘overwhelmed’ shows up in my journals. (When I typed the word into the search box of even this public confessional blog of mine, 25 posts came up with the word in its text.) When I spread myself too thin, try to juggle too many loves, I cannot be generous with any one and am left feeling as if there is not enough me.

I don’t think that’s what we are supposed to take in with the nourishment that we are ‘just a little lower than the angels’. I suspect that our spirit is supposed to be a little (a lot) more grounded than that, that we are supposed to do and to be ‘one’, not all, and to trust that our very finite and earthbound oneness is both beloved and essential.

I also suspect that this is the secret hidden within the word sacrifice, that in order to be and to bring our gift of light to this place, we have to say ‘no’ to other equally light-filled paths, let some other ‘one’ follow that other star, so that we can focus the light of the gift that we are, and so pour it out generously. (I also suspect that this word, sacrifice, will come up later in the list so I’ll save that pondering for later). In the meantime, Indra’s net comes to mind, each one of us a bejeweled knot in the web, holding the world together by keeping our place. Tonight I cherish the preciousness of that binding knot.

tell me what is it you plan to do with your ONE wild and precious life- Mary Oliver

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