We All Long To Be More
Every one of us---no matter what else seeks to divide us--are joined by a singular and piercing desire: We long to be more than we are.
C.S. Lewis once wrote:
We seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves.How we go about pursuing that desire, and the varying degrees that we are driven by it informs the shape of our lives. It also helps direct the paths we take on our life's journeys, the directions we are drawn to go and the destinations we find along the way.
And we also discover along the way that in order to be more, we have to let some of ourselves go, we have to surrender selfish dreams, give up destructive behavior and thinking, and make room in our souls for what is good, beautiful and true.
For some of us, the realization of what we must give up in order to live into our true humanity is too terrible to bear, and so we find ways to excuse our staying right where we are.
In his book Awareness, Anthony de Mello wrote about this pointedly:
People are so busy accusing everyone else, blaming everyone else, blaming life, blaming society, blaming their neighbor. You'll never change that way; you'll continue in your nightmare, you'll never wake up.And so we embrace negative feelings, and redouble our efforts to keep from having to change--mostly out of fear of what happens when we finally let go of the old friends of bitterness, grief, loneliness, despair, anger, doubt and shame...
Jesus once told his followers that the only way they were ever going to discover the truth about themselves was if they were able to first die to these negative feelings, the ways they defined who they were.
How do we do this? Anthony de Mello breaks it down into four basic actions.
1. Acknowledge your negative feelings--don't try to shove them down. Shoving them down will only result in you transmitting your pain to others.
2. Recognize that these feelings are within you, not an external reality.
3. Realize that these feelings are not an essential part of who you are.
4. Understand that when you change, everything changes--circumstances, people, you... all of it.
When we do this, we are able to die to ourselves as Jesus urged, in order to be raised to new life, new possibilities, and... to more of who we are meant to be.
May this be so in your life today and every day. May you discover the joy of surrender, and ultimately of resurrection. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.