It can be quite easy to become weighed down by the reality of humanity.
That’s a depressing statement that I find myself agreeing with too quickly. Which is exactly why I need to practice an awareness of the divine and mysterious that is everywhere around me.
I wonder why it is that we humans so easily and quickly have our attention drawn to the evil that is in men’s hearts. Is it so we can elevate ourselves above others and say, “Well, at least I don’t…” or “I would never do…”?
Through the last many years of reading, more from authors who have different faith traditions that I, those with more liturgical backgrounds, mystics, saints, I have been curious regarding the use of the word “practice” regarding faith. I was more taught “do it” or “be disciplined”, which implies just setting your mind to it and you will be successful.
In every other area of our lives we understand practice. In soccer you don’t just determine to kick a goal. You practice kicking thousands of goals in all different circumstances and with all kinds of obstacles put in your way. In music you practice, not just a piece of music, but scales, repeated fingerings on a keyboard. In each of these you will get it wrong many more times that you get it right. But for some reason, with spirituality, with desiring to be all that is capable, we consider it failure. This is one reason I walked away from my church in my early teen years. I just keep failing.
Now, as my view of the divine and spirituality have changed, softened, grown(?), I am beginning to see my “failings” as I just need to practice more. I don’t give up as easily. If I make an intention to do something, every day, every week and then don’t do it; it is much easier for me to just sort to shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, I’ll try again”.
There may be days I feel so successful in showing love and care for someone and the next day I am faced with another who I absolutely cannot love. Failure or the chance to practice more?
In the book In Search of Belief, Joan Chittister says:
“[People] are not born perfect; they become perfect by failing.
The conception, the impulsion, the kindling of Jesus by the Spirit of the Holy calls us to become less concentrated on sin and more on grace, less concerned with the restrictions of law, and more with the limitless possibility of love, less obsessed by the limitations of being human and more in awe of its potential. It is humanity that is the womb of the divine for us.”
The more I practice being aware of God in everyone and in everything around me, the more my attention will be drawn to the good, the mysterious, the divine in humanity.
And this would be good for us all.