There are these moments in my life when I am left to think about that which I am, or that which I have been taught to be, or that which I think is right. It is never my inclination to discount any of these particular thoughts, although I seem to have been blessed with a short memory for most of them. The most painful of these thoughts, those that seem to have been the very definitions of the term “me”, are the ones that linger like an irritating cough interrupting my restful slumber.
It seems to be that we humans do spend an awful lot of time wasting away our lives on these meaningless activities. I so envy the tree as it goes about its life without justification or need to be anything other than a tree. How strange would this universe be if a tree tried mightily to be more likes its Creator, or even had the audacity to question that which gave it life? What if a tree could create for itself a condition by which growing upward was wrong? It would struggle to bend itself toward the ground, its branches pushing upward as its mind pushed downward. Or what if the sun itself decided that burning brightly and hotly was wrong? It would struggle against itself to dim its light, and would change our universe forever.
I think about the lonely salmon whose sexual urges push it against the mighty stream. Imagine if it were written that it was wrong, that not only the act of listening to its nature but also the nature of its act were both wrong. What would become of the salmon, of its nature, of its purpose? Imagine if salmon rejected those who saw fit to fulfill their nature. Imagine the guilt those who simply had not the inclination nor the need to cater to those words of discouragement would feel. Imagine the shame of “failure” it would feel. Imagine the distractions it would need to seek to forget who it was. Imagine the need for “salvation” that this fear would create, and the need to create the salvation as surely as it had the need to create the fear to begin with.
Fortunately for the salmon, the tree, the grass, and all creatures of the earth save man this need does not exist. They are free to act as they were created to be simply because they have no need to be anything else. What beauty is there in such a life’s purpose!!
I have had the create fortune of revisiting with some others the parable of the “Prodigal Son“. This parable has not only inspired me to untold moments of thought, but also has provided me with a great insight to where I was during any one of these moments. Regardless of where I was, I choose to only focus on where I am this moment in regards to not only the discussion but the parable. I no longer seek the perspective of either son, the judged or the judging, but rather the father who simple loves without the need to be either.
There is a bit of each character in all of us. There is a part of us that is the lost son. We make mistakes. We squander opportunity. We suffer. Then there is a part of us that is older son. We work hard to please others. We strive to do what we are taught is “right”. We suffer. There is also a part of us that is the father. That part of us just observes and forgives. That part not only forgives the parts of us that cause us to suffer, but allows the suffering in order that we may return to it. We struggle mightily to “sin”. We struggle mightily to stay on the “righteous path”. We struggle so therefore we suffer, all-the-while the father in each of us just accepts, loves, and forgives.
How many of us can truly embrace who we are as either son? How many of us can learn to be who we are without shame or guilt? Very, very, very few of us I suppose. So few that those who can are considered “special”. God’s will does not involve “right” or wrong – that is man’s will – but rather involves doing. That purpose we call “God’s will” is found in the son whose wild living finds him broke and hungry. That purpose we call “God’s will” is found in the son struggling to remain true to beliefs. That purpose we call “God’s will” is found in the realization that we need our “father” again, as well as in the act of returning to him, and yes as well as in the act of forgiving ourselves in the knowledge that we will leave him again.
It’s inevitable. It’s the matter of humans Being. When we accept our quest to grow toward the sky we limit our suffering in the transformation. When we accept that the light we emit is the light we are intended to shine we limit our suffering in the creation. When we accept that the swim upstream is not only necessary but who we are we fulfill our purpose without interference from who we think we should be.
Or not…because in not doing so we are fulfilling our purpose was well. It’s all right, for the sun cannot shine without the darkness of the universe. The song cannot be played without the silence that allows it to be. Perfection…all of it. Peace.
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