“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
I have always loved this quote from the writer, E.B. White. And of course, I always want to be able to do both: improve the world and enjoy it just as it is. There is merit to both. We know that the world cries out in pain and suffering and that it will always do so. Utopia ain’t us. And so we keep trying because it is in us to save, protect, fix, advance, and restore things. There is always yet another improvement that can be made to enhance life itself.
But there is something to be said in enjoying the world just as it is. In all its brokenness and beauty. To accept the bitter and the sweet. To be fully present in all that is, floating in the now. It is about accepting what is and the limits of what any of us can do. It is also pausing rather than moving through the world like the wild hare in Alice in Wonderland whose rude cry is “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” Really?
What is so important that one cannot stop to see the crocuses opening and shutting their petaled selves. Or to glimpse the flowering of the heather or the tree behind the sanctuary and in the southeast bed at the church? And the still naked trees are full of red tail hawks and eagles. The fields still feed the lingering snow geese, tundra swans, and Canada geese. And the sunsets recently? Such an intensity of color. Even the white dots barely visible masquerading as snow. Remember, it is February and that we are always fooled this time of year into believing that Spring has sprung.
I am convinced that if I do not enjoy the world with all of its mixed gifts, just as it is, then I have no business trying to improve it. Because I haven’t seen or listened enough to it. I haven’t gotten mud on my pants and dirt under my nails and pieces of winter’s detritus in my hair. I haven’t rolled in the sunshine and lifted my head to the rain and wind. And because our days are too often a forced choice between working so hard and be-ing.
It is all about balancing the teeter totter of life. Only you can determine and know what that sweet spot, that balance, is for you…
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,