I have been continuing to read Parker Palmer's book The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity and Caring. In the book, Palmer argues that at the heart of the contemplative life is the embrace of those things scare us...the monsters that are our fears. These fears include our fears of failure, ridicule, looking foolish are the guides that lead us to depth and from that depth into relationship and community.
I have to say that I feel the truth of these words, just as I also feel all the resistance to truly embracing this truth. Allowing fear of failure to rule my life means that I run or pull away when it starts to get hard. I have been struggling with my fear and my desire. I desire to go deeper, to sink down roots, to find out what it might mean to not be on my way to somewhere but really just here..in the here and now. Yet I fear being "found out." Maybe I am not as good as others think I am. What if I am wrong? What if I don't have all the answers?
While I was in graduate school, time was measured in semesters and I knew that I was only there for a short time...to get my masters degree. Living in student housing, having my spouse in school at the same time, everything felt very temporary. How do you put down roots...risk going deep when you know that life is going to change very soon?
Yet now I am no longer in school. I am working at a job that I love in my field. Yes there is more preparation to come if I want to finish the path to Unitarian Universalist ministerial fellowship and ordination. I am planning to enter the Religious Educators Credentialing program. Of course there is always more to know and to learn. Yet what might it mean to put down roots? What might it mean to embrace and ride the monster that is my fear of failure? What might it mean to risk being wrong? What it might it mean to dive deep?