“Everything in the World is Waiting”

Astonishing freedom is available to us all the time. Really, I’m not making it up. As William Stafford writes in “A Message from the Wanderer,”

…Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

This week, the transformation of a simple question pointed toward one escape route: trust. Pulling into my garage one night, I thought to myself about some aspect of life, “What am I doing?” in a mental voice tinged with a Pig-Pen-like cloud of despair. Then I heard the question repeated in an excited, joyful tone, as if the asker couldn’t wait to discover what wonderful thing I was about to do.

Many of our social and religious constructs teach us to deeply mistrust ourselves. They subtly say that we must be hyper vigilant to prevent ourselves from running amuck, as if our failings were just waiting for that one relaxed moment to rise up and overpower us.

While healthy self-reflection is necessary for growth, we need to remember that we’re made in the image and likeness of God and to consider what that means. We have our weaknesses, but we are manifestations of God’s abundant love, of God’s abundant self, and though it feels risky, we can trust that Ground of our being.

God is not waiting to smite us. God is loving us into existence with every breath and heartbeat, as Jim Finley says. God’s love is our true nature, and it is infinitely trustworthy. The more we know this to be true, the more we will trust ourselves and the more we will embody that trustworthiness in all our relationships.

We are going to mess up. We will almost certainly hurt one another by acting unconsciously or from a place of fear, but those mistakes don’t define us. “Nothing less than love has the power to name who you are,” Finley says.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Everything in the world really is waiting. And it’s so excited to meet us.

3 thoughts on ““Everything in the World is Waiting”

  1. Lovely. That change of tone is really neat. And I love the Stafford poem. Never thought of it in the light you shine on it. Thank you.

  2. While I am on board with this idea of trust that you have elaborated upon beautifully, and that Jim Finley teaches so beautifully, I am also keenly aware that there are no guarantees. That is to say, life utterly destroys some people, or turns them into monsters. Jim Finley has spoken about his time as a resident at the VA, witnessing people whose minds have disintegrated in the psychiatric ward. He describes both the incredible suffering, as well as the mysterious aura of grace that pervades and surrounds it. Nevertheless, the possibility and reality of such catastrophe frightens me. There but the grace of God go I. I do not know how to reconcile this with unconditional trust.

    • I don’t think they’re reconcilable on the level of thinking that wants to reconcile them. I remember mentally bringing up war and hunger during the “God is trustworthy; the world is trustworthy; I’m trustworthy” download, and there was a way in which I could feel that they’re held that is inexplicable on the level of, this is OK, this is not OK. It’s like Jim’s God protects us from nothing while sustaining us in all things. Or maybe like that parable he told of a person who fell off a ship and was floating in the water and at some point realized he was going to die and was OK with that. Maybe we can exist at both levels at the same time, that is, we can be frightened because things are frightening, but at another level, we can recognize that the thing we’re frightened of can’t actually touch who we are, our invincible preciousness, as Jim would call it, or to use another of his phrases, “that which is not subject to the brutality of our own will.” Also, I don’t think that the people who end up utterly destroyed in this life end up that way due to trusting God.

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