Monday, 5 March 2012
Emboldened by community
It is the belief that this relationship will be the one that makes us come alive.
Although sometimes feeling fully alive can be difficult. We can be faced not only with the pain of our own lives but also the pain of others. This is not to say that we should dwell on pain and disappointment but to be fully alive we live with it all, not just the happiness.
The survival mechanism of denial - I experience this in my own life and in the lives of others. From a simple denial of our own mortality to denying that our loved ones are hurting us, perhaps even physically injuring us, to a denial that what holds us back is a fear of success rather than fear of failure. We often deny our own power and seek to protect others as if they themselves had less power than us. We think that denial helps us to survive but in reality it means that all we do is survive rather than thrive.
As we get older we imagine that we will become more fearless as we have less to lose - fewer years of life - firmer friendships which can take harder blows - less attachment to our looks and our appearance. And yet it seems to me that we get into pension-mentality - possibly somewhere in our fifties. We don't want to take risks because we are saving ourselves, saving our resources, saving our nerves - not for a bright new morn but for a comfortable sunset.
Should our faith community encourage us to bed-down early? Should our faith community sort people by age - youngsters to the left and oldies to the right? Should we older ones become models of conservatism valuing comfort over adventure? Clearly we should answer, 'No', to all of these. But somewhere in our collective psyche are firmly fixed stereotypes that we would do well to challenge.
What we should not deny is that each day is a new opportunity which does not discriminate between old and young, man and woman, tall and short, happy or sad. Today may bring sorrow or it may bring ecstasy.
Our faith community should help us to boldly go where perhaps we have not gone before.