Perspective is something that cannot be hurried. One simply cannot gain perspective without time. It is one of the gifts of a long life. Perspective helps us to make sense of the events in our lives. It helps us to derive meaning, to connect the dots, to see the continuum.
Perspective gives us a lens through which to take stock of the choices in our lives. Choices that define who we are and what matters to us. Choices that we make out of opportunity, or the lack there of. Choices made out of pain, fear, obedience, self preservation or self loathing. Choices made from a desire for acceptance, a yearning for change or a need for control.
There are consequences for every choice we make. It is perspective that allows us to reconcile ourselves with the consequences. Perspective gives us clarity.
It is clarity I gained this week. Clarity allows for forgiveness, understanding, and purpose.
One of the ways we gain clarity is through the telling of our story. Our shared stories help us to see that we are not alone. That our pain, though unique to our particular journey, is not unique. It is part of the experience of being human.
And when we share our stories, we help others to gain perspective.
A perspective that there is a purpose to every single thing that occurs in our messy, complicated, complex, confusing lives. Everything. As Rilke says,
"Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist:in understanding as in creating. In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn't matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn't force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernably silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything."
Jean Pierre Medaille, SJ, wrote in his Maxims of Perfection in 1657
"Never go ahead of grace
through imprudent eagerness
but await its moment in peace
and when it comes to you,
follow it with great gentleness and courage.
Once you have obeyed,
rob you of the fruit of your obedience."
In order to live like this, we have to trust that as the medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich says,
"All will be well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well."
Trust. Even if we don't live to see the purpose in the event. Even if we don't gain perspective. In God's time, it all has meaning.
I am grateful to have been reminded of this. I feel reconnected with a renewed sense of purpose. Because of the clarity I have gained, I can embrace the "is-ness" of my life. I trust in Kairos.