“To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
~ G.K Chesterton
It sounds so easy. Just do the things you think you can not do, and you will be enlightened. Love and forgive everyone and everything, have faith and hope always, and live happily ever after!
But wait…life can get messy. Sometimes love gets stuck in our fear and pain…and forgiveness hardens in our scars. From where are we supposed to summon all that faith and hope in moments of hardship and exhaustion when clearly even the gods have their limits?
I’ve often asked for a refund on all the wisdom handed to me throughout the years. I argued a lot, and people argued back, except for very few who didn’t argue. They smiled instead and told me one day I would understand everything.
That day hasn’t arrived. I suspect it never will, because every time I think I figured something out, there comes another layer and another, and another.
But, I have discovered some little and I believe important things. Here are the ones that came to mind as I read the quote that found me again tonight.
First…meaningful, wonderful, and special things are supposed to scare you…a little or a lot. If you’re not scared when you love, when you write, when you paint, when you parent, when you do whatever it is that you do, then you’re not really living. It’s like that saying: if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
Second…confidence or certainty are not these impenetrable, all-powerful entities. Both are dances with fear. The more you learn to enjoy the dance instead of resisting it, the more exciting, liberating and rewarding it becomes.
Third… “why not” is the only question worth asking…and it’s always a rhetorical question anyway. I learned this from my children who, with their beautiful wisdom lacking in cynicism, often pointed out that grown-ups always first think about how something isn’t possible, won’t work, or isn’t good, even though it’s obviously the wrong approach. Obviously we should all assume the best first, and keep assuming…because “that’s how you can make and find the coolest things mom…like hidden levels and stuff”.
And last but not least…if you want to know what something truly means, for example the big words in the quote: love, forgiveness, faith and hope…you have to carry them beyond the edge of everything you know and into the realm of your greatest discomfort. It’s like turning off all the lights so as to be able to see the stars.