It has been over a year since I caught up with a friend of mine. The last time we met it was in the context of potentially doing business together. For a variety of reasons, it did not work out. My admiration for her abilities is alive now as it is was then. As we explored the present over a bowl of soup, I found myself wondering aloud.
Is it ever enough to know and say what we will not do? Do we need to include the positive (what we will do) in order for someone to have a complete understanding?
Our conversation reminds me that I often hear the negative. People disagree with someone politics and yet I do not know about the alternative. Some talk about an organization’s shortcomings, leaving me to wonder what would make the organization fully functional. Others speak about what we must avoid. I am searching for what I need to hold onto.
Thich Hanh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who lived and ministered during the worst of the war in his country. He reminds us that it is in filling our cup with the positive that we find peace. If we try to focus on getting rid of the negative we will still be empty. Life is about more. Paul takes a similar approach when he talks about the essence of living. He reminds us that love “takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” (1 Corinthians 13.7) Love is far more than what it is not; it is what it is. We give it life with our embrace.
I sit in the darkness just before dawn and wonder what the day will bring. I know it must be more than what I avoid. The story of today will be told in how I exercise my freedom. I will paint a picture, visible to all. Life is in the present. Here is where we reach for our heart’s aspiration.