I was recently talking with a friend and like all good conversations with good friends, it was all over the place and back again. Mostly the gist of our ramblings kept coming back to both our successes and failures as parents, as friends, as spouses, and just as humans in general. I have been a bit of a perfectionist my whole life, a bit Type A (ok, a lot), often intense, so my self talk has not always been very healthy. By and large the tapes that replay in my head want to focus on the negative things I have done--my justification for dwelling in the negative being that I might spurn myself to do better next time. However, this pattern and belief in, frankly, a lie, is something I have been consciously letting go. It is good for us to admit our mistakes and strive to do better, but if that is where our mind continually dwells, it can only cause us to step right back into those same patterns and mistakes. My husband so eloquently says, "wherever your eye is focused as you walk, that is right where you will step." Giving oxygen to only our mistakes and failings can resuscitate those failures and inevitably cause us to repeat them.
Lately, I like to see my life as a cracked clay pot. Wherever those cracks and fissures have formed it is a tell-tale sign of trauma--either happening to us, or inflicted by us, but those traumas/fissures/cracks can serve a great purpose. We all have them, so if we can just allow ourselves to be filled again with goodness, positivity, with the very spirit of God, like water, these nourishing substances will pour out of those cracks of brokenness/failure and ultimately water the ground around us. Soon we may notice we are like an oasis in a desert, with green things sprouting up beside us where our broken places have allowed beauty, sustenance, wisdom, charity, compassion, grace and all the things of God to water our environment with love. Those broken places are where we are most vulnerable, but they are also where we are most able to leak Love to the world if we have the courage to do so.
Often in class we try to develop an ear to hear what Henri Nouwen calls, "the inner voice of Love." That is what we will continue practicing this week, letting go of the negative voices that speak of failure and tuning our ears to hear what our Source says about us. It is through being filled with that living water again that we can share a cool drink of Love with the thirsty world around us.