We’re Already There

I had a bad case of the wanting-to-be-importants earlier this week. For me, this generally takes the form of wishing that I had achieved something so impressive that the whole world—or at least everyone I was ever likely to meet—knew of my accomplishments, was favorably impressed by them, and considered me in the top 100 or so human beings of all time. I am not exaggerating.

This model presents a few logical and operational problems. For example, this definition would yield a thousand or two important people out of seven billion. Given that every one of those seven billion people can probably think of at least one person who is personally important to them, the math is a little off. Not to mention that it’s pretty rare to find something that the whole world agrees is a worthwhile accomplishment.

The real danger, though, is not logistical but spiritual because this world of importance is not only all about me but the me it’s about is an external-to-me creation. It’s like seeking to save myself through universal applause.

Salvation has already been taken care of, not because I am Christian but because I exist. As Richard Rohr says, “Incarnation is already redemption….The Earth is good” (from “The Eternal Christ in the Cosmic Story,” an interview with the National Catholic Reporter). That doesn’t mean we don’t do terrible things to each other and to the Earth, but we do them precisely when we are trying to create some version of ourselves rather than get in touch with the reality of ourselves, which is God.

We say this in a lot of different ways in a lot of different faith traditions. It’s impossible to articulate because it’s impossible to say what God is. It doesn’t mean that you or I created the universe single-handedly, which tends to be how we think of God. For me, right now, it means something like this: the very atoms of the universe—including our atoms—are made of God-stuff, and there is God-spirit in each of us connecting us to each other and all of creation and God. And if that doesn’t make us important, nothing is likely to.

3 thoughts on “We’re Already There

  1. “… we live in a coherent universe where there is no division between the natural and the supernatural.” I like that in Rohr’s article that you cited. I wish he hadn’t said “we are all unworthy.” We are all worthy. Every cell, the smallest bend in every twig of the oak tree. And cherished. And you are certainly in my top 100 – top 3, actually. : ) Thank you for this very deep post.

  2. OH RACHEL, thanks so much. I too struggle – as a performing artist teacher always “selling” myself……. ARGH…. with this sense of importance crap. I love R.R. too. He both keeps me grounded as a Catholic so weary at times with my rule laden, sometimes HEART_CLOSED colleagues. Oh my….. So I turn back to the Cosmic Christ – my friend, my ally, something enormous yet everyday, right her, in me, in even the friends who tick me off. I was fantasizing the other day – WHO (my old university?) would want my journals, my files of plans, my treasured photos of like-minded folks gathered around story and song? My one child has his own creative journey and might be happy with a note book or two and a few pics. But my “self-importance” wishes someone would do a dissertation on me or at least stoytelling’s deep importance. So reading this was a treat and helped me laugh. The work I want to “give away”, I must give away while I’m living and to those right around me. Even if, like St. Francis, I simply preach to the birds. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks for your beautiful comment, Marni. “something enormous yet everyday, right here, in me, in even the friends who tick me off.” What a wonderful way to say it. I didn’t know you are a storyteller! My mom, who I’ve just learned you’re connected with, raised me on storytelling conferences. It was a great way to grow up, so I at least am a true believer in storytelling’s importance. I also really like this nugget of yours: “The work I want to “give away”, I must give away while I’m living and to those right around me.” Amen. On Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 10:42 AM Being Finite wrote:

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