Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aspiration and its Fruits

Julian of Norwich wrote one of the most  insightful records of spiritual experience ever to come out of the Christian tradition. And then practically nobody read it for five hundred years.
You plant an oak tree, knowing that it may well survive you--in fact probably hoping that it will--but can't predict its fate, two centuries from now.
You open your hand to the homeless woman on the street and have no way of knowing whether the change you press into her palm will go to her next meal or her next fix.
You visit a loved one now deep in dementia. Do any of your words get through? What will stay with him from your visit ten minutes after you've gone?
Between the aspirations that drive us forward and the fulfillment we can't foresee, there's a gap where grace happens. It's what we can't steer, can't predict, can't even ask for or imagine,  that comes to us as gift.
What we consciously long for and believe we're working toward isn't the goal. Longing simply pulls us forward, blindfolded, walking in trust. It's what we never bargained on that calls forth gratitude.

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