Borderland

We humans are in-between beings, caught between known and unknown, past and future, the possible and the impossible.

In this borderland it’s tempting to try to be certain, to find enduring truths that we can rely on in all circumstances.

But it doesn’t take very much careful attention to see how lost we are and little we know, even when we know much: about what will happen, about the nature of the world, and about the nature of others. How little, if anything, there is that is certain, that we can absolutely rely upon.

In such a world – and this is our world – we depend on interpretation in order to find our way. We have to choose, from the many possibilities available to us, how to understand the lives we live and the events we experience. And we have to learn how to discern between better and worse interpretations, because although many are possible not all are equally good. Some open up possibility, while others imprison us. Some bring forward human dignity and kindness, while others lead to resignation, resentment and cruelty. Some interpretations lead us to abdicate our responsibility, while others bring us into the orbit of care for life.

And when we have chosen an interpretation, a way of making sense, we have to watch out for holding onto it too tightly. Because the moment we say our interpretation is the truth – that there really is only one way to see something – we close down life, and we shut the gates on a bigger kind of truth: one that is capable of including and responding to the very depth and complexity of the world that brings our lostness about.

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