At sixteen, I was convinced I knew it all. By eighteen, I knew I knew it all. By twenty-five, I had put away my childish ways and arrived. Now, at the age of fifty-two, I know I know very little. I find myself wondering what each day will bring. My certainty has become wonder. My confidence has morphed into a humble willingness to risk. My arrogance seems to have found perspective. Knowledge, awareness, and ability are fleeting perspectives I try to hold with occasional success.
I find the change in perspective comes from more than just age. After you have ridden the subway in New York, the tube in London, or the train in Amsterdam, you approach things differently. It is more than the knowledge; it is the experience of something uniquely shaped to the culture and environment of the community. Experiencing the reality of children changes one’s perspective. Rarely does the experience give one more confidence, assurance, and certainty. Knowing how tools work for me brings an awareness that demands more attention to safety and planning. Careless abandon is not always in anyone’s interest.
Today I find myself covered in a Southern California marine layer. The gentle coolness and gray carries a sense of reflection and pause. The task we have, using our memories, experiences, and perspective, for the advantage of those around us can be daunting. It is easier to check out, look the other way, and ignore what has come before. It is as if I can hear the gossip; “This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can't even look at what he's doing, can't even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, ‘This is crazy.’” (Isaiah 44.20)
Today does not have to be this way. Nothing is predetermined, scripted. Everything, anything is possible. Relationships can have fresh beginnings. Communities can begin the process of working together. Mercy, grace, and forgiveness can live and flourish in your life and mine. Divinity’s perspective and gift is our window.
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