"Each person has his secret and mystery, his particular journey, his vocation to grow. Certainly, many people never achieve full maturity, but each can make a little progress toward establishing his identity and becoming open to others. The important thing is not that we should acheive human perfection -- far from it -- but that we should set out on the road toward it through acts of openness and love, kindness and communion. Every person today, in whatever situation he finds himself, in his home or at work, can perform such acts. "
Jean Vanier, Essential Writings, One Heart at a Time.
We are all born with potential. My potential may look very different and feel very different than yours because we all have own our uniqueness. What we share and what we have some empowerment over, are the conscious choices we make as human beings. Who we become is based on the values we want to live by, the friends we choose to connect with, the vocation we choose to stretch ourselves in, where we establish our foundational roots and whether or not we choose to accept the responsibility of playing a role in the life of community. These are based in reality, not in a life cupped by illusionary dreams.
We strive. We strive to accept ourselves for who we are and for who we are becoming. Its tough to remain open and honest with secrets tucked underneath the blemished freckled skin that encases us. Its not an easy thing to love ourselves, warts and all. We want to eradicate the freckles, lose the wrinkles, hide the grey hair, get rid of the lumps and bumps. We spend precious time waxing and plucking and shaping our outer skin as a means of avoiding a good long look at our secrets.
The problem with this approach to life is that if we choose not to wrestle with the serious frightening side of who we are, we forfeit the opportunity to learn about our gifts. If you've never allowed yourself a chance to create something with your own canvas, how will you ever know the kind of artist you are becoming?
What a waste of a lifetime to be constantly resculpting the outer shell......wearing masks to avoid taking a good look. Our capacity to grow deepens if we become more honest with ourselves because it is then when we can be open to accepting those around us.
In his always inspirational words, Jean Vanier writes......."the dangerous thing for human beings is to want to be other than who they are, to want to be someone else, or even to want to be God. We need to be ourselves with our gifts and abilities, our capacity for communion and co-operation. This is the way to be happy."
So often we shrink away from sharing who we really are for fear of being rejected or feeling insignificant. These are fears we bring forward in our own psyche......from past experiences of being unloved, neglected, abused, treated poorly. We may have been bullied. People may say mean things to us over and over to a point where we begin to believe the words, the descriptions of who we are.
If this wound is left to fester inside hidden behind a mask which covers up our true selves, it impacts every single choice we make with respect to our relationships…..it impacts our actions and reactions. It tackles our ability to think and feel effectively. There is nothing more affirming that to be accepted as the hairy, lumpy bumpy freckled beasts we are because it allows us to carry our secrets, our uniqueness with a sense of acceptance and belonging. It also feeds our curiosity to ask others to share with us.
If we are ever going to make the much needed shift in this world…..to work towards a semblance of solidarity instead of a competitive judgemental hierarchy where winning is always the goal; if we are ever going to recognize the fundamental sameness of all…..vulnerable human beings, needful of love and acceptance…..we must begin by peaking under our own skin, by exploring the realities and the mysteries, not simply as regrets, but as gifts of learning. Golden gifts to mine….and to share.
Much of life is predetermined……how we share it and whom we share it with isn’t.