A friend drew my attention to a recent blog post by Paulo Coelho http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/12/01/a-peruvian-priests-sermon/ .
In this post he gives a prayer, which has given words to my own desire.
‘Lord, give us always a dissatisfied heart.
Give us a heart where the questions that we never want to ask can be voiced.
Deliver us from our conformism.
Make us able to enjoy what we have, but let us understand that this is not everything.
Let us appreciate that we are good people.
But above all, make us always ask ourselves how we can become better people.
Because if we ask, then it is quite possible that You will come and show us horizons that we couldn’t see before.’
To me this is a powerful combination of gratitude, humility and desire. It is a willingness to put myself in that mildly uncomfortable space that exists just beyond self-satisfaction. It is an acknowledgement that I have much to learn. And yet that yearning does not require that I deny, in any way, that I have journeyed a fair distance and I have learnt some good things along the path.
One the joys of working in spiritual direction is that I get to have substantial conversations with people who are more my parents’ generation than my own. Over time, I have come to recognise that the relationships I value most are with those who are still learning. I am constantly amazed by the willingness of these elders to engage with me. More than that, they are willing to learn from me.
Let me quickly say, I know that I do offer something of value, I’m not looking for reassurance on that front. The point I wish to make is that I think part of the gift of wisdom is the willingness to recognise one’s own limitations. In this particular case, the desire to continue to learn stems from a recognition that my point of view is always shaped by my experience. Quality conversation happens when all people engaged can recognise the narrow field of vision from which they operate. It doesn’t take much imagination to call to mind a conversation with a person who equates their own horizons with The Truth.
Are there spaces in your own life where the horizon is non-negotiable?
If so, what do you fear losing if reality turns out to be larger than you can currently see?