Life is full of risk. This feels particularly true in our uncertain and chaotic time.
The nature of risk is to calculate the best course of action. Sometimes the path forward is clear. Other times uncertain. Sometimes we have good options. Other times not.
We awaken at 3 a.m. working our worry beads as we seek to discern the best path forward, as we struggle to understand (and accept) what we can control and what we can’t. The concerns we carry are legion: health issues, well-being of loved ones, concern for institutions and causes we hold dear. We worry over the right path to take.
In the midst of my worry, I came across this poem by David Whyte. It is a call to ‘risk ourselves for the world…to hazard ourselves for the right thing’.
WE ARE HERE
We are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world. We are a form of invitation to others and to otherness, we are meant to hazard ourselves for the right thing, for the right woman or the right man, for a son or a daughter, for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds. And in all this continual risking the most profound courage may be found in the simple willingness to allow ourselves to be happy along the way….
From ‘LONGING’ In CONSOLATIONS:
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte
The poem ends with this line ‘in all this continual risking the most profound courage may be found in the simple willingness to allow ourselves to be happy along the way….’
Uncertainty is a given. The willingness to risk for a cause we believe in is our choice. So is the choice to be happy in the midst of the uncertainty.
For me as a person of faith my ‘happiness’ is rooted in the belief that God who is the source and author of love is with us. With us when we work our worry beads at 3 a.m.. With us when the path forward is uncertain. With us when we risk for a cause we believe in.
There are no guarantees in life. We know this to be true.
But it is also true that in the midst of life’s uncertainty is the comfort in knowing that we journey not alone. We look around and find others to travel with, to work with, to risk alongside.
And for people of faith like me, we find strength in knowing that we journey not alone. A belief that the God who created heaven and earth is with us and goes before us, preparing the ground for that which is life-giving.
The theologian William Sloan Coffin offered this:
I love the recklessness of faith….first you leap and then you grow wings.
It takes courage to take a leap of faith. William Sloan Coffin’s metaphor promises that wings will be provided when we need them the most. When we feel vulnerable, anxious, uncertain.
None of us knows what the future holds but faith reminds us that we journey not alone. And this graces us with moments of happiness along the way. Even in times of uncertainty and risk.
That’s good enough for me.