There is a difference between a life of width and a life of depth.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“We are suffering from depth deprivation,” I heard someone say in the past week. There is an enormous pull toward going faster and doing more, which means we cannot go deeper. One of my favorite singer/song writers is Carrie Newcomer, a Quaker who lives deeper and invites others to do so. I was first introduced to Carrie at Ring Lake Ranch five years ago, and my life’s soundtrack since then has included her profound wisdom and her delightful wit. As Jim and I drove through Wyoming, the last 6 hours of our road trip, we listened to her music and felt something within us soften, open and move more deeply within. Recently Carrie shared this invitation from her book A Permeable Life: Poems and Essays:
Perhaps the goal
Is not to spend this day
Power skiing atop an ocean of multitasking.
Maybe the idea is to swim slower
And really look around.
There is a difference between
A life of width
And a life of depth.
I realize even as I write this that in some seasons of our lives, it’s all we can do to keep the plates spinning, the balls in the air, the vital items—and the not so vital ones—moving onto and off of our to do list. Her invitation is lovely, and deep within some part of us yearns to be able to answer it, and yet….and yet. Is it just one more thing on the list, one more pressure unfulfilled?
The mystery of life is that the deeper we go, the more we are able to attend to the things that are vital but in a different way. When we dive deeper and really look around, we engage our life, this one precious life we have, with greater wisdom, greater passion, greater joy—transforming even to do lists into something larger. So what holds us back? I suspect fear catches us and whispers untruths about ourselves and what we might find when we go deeper, and how we can’t possibly afford the time to do so. Naturally, when I tell myself I can’t possibly take the time is exactly when I most need to go deeper!
Being in the wilderness—whether it is a forest preserve, a beach, a garden or the mountains—always beckons me deeper. Just being outdoors, observing stately trees or delicate flowers, hearing the roar of moving water or seeing the brilliant, ever shifting light show playing on this sweet world of ours, moves me deeper still. There are other ways I experience that movement deeper, encountering beauty in any form, in times of prayer and meditation when I gently encourage the “chattering monkeys” in my head to move to the background for a time, and when I am present, truly present with another. What moves you into the depths of your life?
Hope to see you on Sunday,