What Have I Really Learned In My Life?

“Regrets, I’ve had a few; but then again too few to mention.” There may have been some missed opportunities in my past that could have afforded me a bit more material resources or a bit more comfortable lifestyle. But now that I am trying to deconstruct and re-create my life through simplification and subtractions, these missed opportunities are things I can truly do without. Anymore of this worrying about material things will distract me from my current project. There may have been some encounters in my past that could have led to more friendships and relationships. But now that I am taking stock of my life and mainly counting my blessings, I realize that I have been blessed with enough friends and relations that anymore loving and caring may make my heart burst forth with gladness and joy. Hmmm, that does not sound too bad. It might in fact be a foretaste of heaven.

But it remains a fact that there have been instances when I missed the truth and reality even when these were as clear as day and staring me in the face. I have missed acts of kindness from others because I was too lost in my self. I have missed the colors and scents and the wild exuberance in nature because I did not take time to stop and smell the flowers. I have missed out on some excitement and adventure because I have been timid and feeble of heart.

And the opposite is true for I often see only what I want to see. I see problems and obstacles where there are no problems nor obstacles because fear and apprehensions get the better of me. I can see only impossibilities because I put limits on what I can do even before I try. I see and fear duplicity and deceit in others because these are the things I fear most about myself. I see hidden agenda where there are none because I harbor these myself.

There are times I fail to see the truth and the goodness and the beauty in others because of the naive belief that mine is the only truth, the only goodness, the only beauty. I fail to acknowledge that truth is too rich to be possessed just by me alone or that goodness is too grand to be found in me alone or that beauty is too all-pervading to be expressed in me alone. Others have a deeper and wider embrace of truth than I do; they live goodness in more noble and inspiring ways than I do; they give expression to beauty in more varied and more creative ways than I do. I impoverish myself immensely when I fail to see the truth others have to say or the goodness that others share or the beauty that others reflect and bring into this world.

In prayer, in silence, in solitude with the Source of all the truth and goodness and beauty that there is, I let all these sink in. There is more to life than my feeble mind can conceive or comprehend. I mull in gratitude and humility what I have learned and realized in my life. I stand in awe and reverence at the mystery of life that I still need to know and understand.

And the disciples asked Jesus, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist. 

Matthew 17:10-13
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