Friday, December 28, 2007

Becoming Human

cliché in winter
Originally uploaded by LunaSol
I have spent this cold and rainy day alone.
Though a friend did call as she drove to Asheville. She wanted to discuss her ability to receive and to be open.
And I listened on the radio for updates on the death of Benazir Bhutto, an event that has saddened me to tears.
And I did email here and there and received replies.
I felt like I was chatting.
I was also trying to “be productive” and managed to take a couple pictures that I liked enough to post to Flickr.

But by late afternoon, the rain, the cold, the seeing no one in person was sinking in.
I went to bed quite early, feeling physically kind of crummy.
Dozed right off and then awoke.
Sitting up in the bed, I had finally come to simply sitting in the night,
taking in the angle of the shadows on the wall,
and the oh so pregnant Silence.

I was alone, but not lonely.
In such Silence that is impossible.
I had finally settled down through the loneliness that had vaguely haunted me throughout the day.

So, I wanted to share with you the writing of Jean Vanier.
His book, Becoming Human, begins with a reflection upon loneliness.

This book is about the liberation of the human heart from the tentacles of chaos and loneliness, and from those fears that provoke us to exclude and reject others. It is a liberation that opens us up and leads us to the discovery of our common humanity… it is the discovery that ultimately finds its fulfillment in forgiveness and in loving those who are our enemies. It is the process of becoming truly human….

A sense of loneliness can be covered up by the things we do as we seek recognition and success. This is surely what I did as a young adult. It is what we all do. We all have this drive to do things that will be seen by others as valuable, things that make us feel good about ourselves and give us a sense of being alive. We only become aware of loneliness at times when we cannot perform or when imagination seems to fail us.

Loneliness can appear as a faint dis-ease, an inner dis-satisfaction, a restlessness of the heart… Loneliness can feel like death…

Loneliness is part of being human, because there is nothing in existence that can completely fulfill the needs of the human heart.

Loneliness in one form is, in fact, essential to our humanity. Loneliness can become a source of creative energy, the energy that drives us down new paths to create new things or to seek more truth and justice in the world…

Loneliness is the fundamental force that urges mystics to a deeper union with God…It pushes them towards the absolute. An experience of God quenches this thirst for the absolute but at the same time, paradoxically, whets it, because this is an experience that can never be total; by necessity, the knowledge of God is always partial. So loneliness opens up mystics to a desire to love each and every human being as God loves them.

And I think that that will do for this rainy night in Georgia.

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