“The trees, the animals, the streams, the flowers, preserved as much as possible in their natural state of beauty, will in turn help preserve our most precious resource—the human spirit.”
Laurance S. Rockefeller, June 12, 1955.
Those on hikes will greet you from where they are at and meet you where you are at. I was on one of my favorite hikes in the Tetons when I noticed a mature couple coming towards me. They walked slowly, together, in obviously harmony. They exuded a comfort with themselves and where they were at. Mature couples have that. They were dressed like they belonged to the front cover of a hiking magazine. I saluted them with my usual greeting “How are you doing?”. Back came the answer in a very peaceful, rich, calm voice “uniquely”. What a great answer? I was so taken back by the answer I was stuck for words to say.
Uniquely is the way we all go through life. We tell our own unique story in the unique living of every moment, of every day, of the life we are given to live. The unique part of God’s story is incarnated in our unique story, to be revealed in the place and space each one of us is placed in. When we fail to get in touch with our uniqueness, we betray our special giftedness, we are then unable to fulfill our God-given destiny. The result is a deep awareness of our emptiness, our loneliness, and a great sense of being disconnected. To be other than who we truly are, is a denial of the wisdom of God and a disbelief in His creativity. God does not make copies. God does not duplicate. We copy, we desire to be other than who we really are, because we either do not know, who we are, or we do not want to know, or in some cases, we are afraid to know. We must always keep in mind that we are created from God’s love through his freedom.
We are always on a journey of discovery. A journey into our unique selves. There is a certain aloneness, loneliness in being unique. We have no one to truly connect with except He who is the source of our uniqueness, God. He who is Alone. It is in the discovery of the God who is alone, we find our home. It is here we find rest and peace. When we are immersed in solitude, in a hike in the wilderness, we are forced to face ourselves in a way we would prefer not to. Fr. Rohr points out, “When you are in solitude, any place of solitude, you have to face your issues of addiction, negativity, fear, and control”. Out in the wilderness you have none of the everyday medicators to distract you from your disturbing feelings. They arise again, and again. They apparently have a will of their own. Like all feelings, in order to deal with them, we have to process them. We have to experience them, express them, let go of them, and then most importantly, welcome God into the emptiness, of the letting go. With the letting go there is now a vacuum, a void which if God does not fill up with his love, then evil will have that space all to itself. We are told that neither the physical or the spiritual can tolerate a vacuum. It is always our choice to make, time and time again, to choose God’s presence, God’s grace, His love, to fill the void, empty space. We will each respond to this uniquely, in our own special way, as we respond to God’s grace. God gives us a special grace so we can slowly, and sometimes painfully become the “me” God knows and loves. We are always responding to life out of His creative love, the Holy Spirit. If not, then we are responding out of our ego, leading to destructive living.
I was just thinking, if our response to that question, “How are you doing?” was always, “uniquely”, what a difference it would make in our own world and in the world of the people we encounter. It would really make people stop and really take notice of who we are and where we are coming from. When we answer “uniquely” we are not being the person they think we ought to be, or who they expect us to be. We are not who they wants us to be. There in the answer, we are expressing our uniqueness and recognizing they too are unique. Hence, because they are not us, they have a different unique being, so they will never understand completely what we think, say or do. What they can do is respect, and reverence our uniqueness, because this is, God’s way. We did not choose to be unique, it is God’s special gift to each one of us. The more that I am who I really am in God’s mind, I am contributing to God’s unique special plan for all of creation. God has chosen you, me, from all of eternity to hike our own special trail. The awe-full, lonely, difficult trail of uniqueness.
A dreamer's journey continues...