I perseverate about things I fear, things I wish were not as they are, things that I find painful.

The problem with perseveration is that it never tells the truth. All perseveration is a lie. Perseveration is a fairytale ending version of life in which things always turn out “happily ever after.” It pretends that it is possible for human beings to create a life for themselves in which the bumps in the road are smoothed out and everything in life moves along pleasantly.

The gift of holding the tensions of my life is that I get to live in reality rather than escaping into an illusion.

The truth is that life includes both the things I like and approve of and that I believe make me feel happy. But life also includes things that are difficult, painful, uncomfortable and awkward. If I am going to live truthfully, I must be willing to embrace both.

There is no light without the shadow and no day without night.

The tensions I experience and the struggles that seem unending are not an alien part of life imposed upon human existence simply to make me feel bad. They are an integral part of all creation.

Robert S. de Ropp writes,

All the structures in the cosmos depend for their continued existence on the balance between opposing forces. Why do not galaxies collapse into the gigantic black holes that lurk in their centers? Because the spin of the galaxy counterbalances the pull of the black hole. Why do not all the planes fall into the Sun? Because the spin of the solar system counterbalances the Sun’s pull. Why does the Sun not collapse in on itself? Because the outward push of its radication overcomes the pull of gravity…. There is no plus without minus. (Robert S. de Ropp, Self Completion, 26,27)

My refusal to embrace what I perceive to be the “minus” makes it impossible for me to enter fully into that which I believe is the “plus”. I miss the gifts of now when I am constantly pushing into something that is not yet, in an attempt to avoid the pain and emptiness I experience in this moment.

The most damaging lie of perseveration is the illusion that the “minus” can overwhelm the “plus.” John the Gospel writer affirmed,

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

The things I fear have the capacity, if I let them, to introduce me to the reality at the heart of life that cannot be “overcome.” This light and truth lives in me as my truest and deepest self. It is utterly invincible.

Paul declared boldly that all things will pass away, but he said

Love never ends. (I Corinthians 13:8)

There is an indestructible reality at the core of life that nothing and no one can undo. The pain I experience is an opportunity to open to that deep truth, to find within myself that which can never be overcome. My frustrations, disappointments, regrets, and disillusionments are simply an opportunity to reconnect with that living presence at the heart of reality that will never forsake me and never let me down.

When Moses passed on to Joshua God’s commission of leadership over the Hebrew people on the verge of the Promised Land, he understood that there would be difficulties in the path ahead. He knew that the Conquest of this land would not come without sorrow, struggle and great pain. So, Moses said to Joshua,

Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:7,8)

This is the only sure confidence we can have. We are not alone. The fact that we struggle and that life is not unfolding precisely as we might have hoped, is not an indication that something is wrong. Our struggles are an opportunity to open more deeply and discover more fully the presence that holds all of life in tenderness and compassion.

 

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