Do we all have a natural buoyancy? I wonder. Some call themselves ‘sinkers’, and describe the great effort required to stay afloat. This is subjective, of course. Effort, to some, is a thing to be minimized if not avoided altogether. To others effort is a joy, a ‘coming to meet’, a solid, positive investment in something of value.
For others effort is an expression of desperation – a wild reaching for anything that might keep them afloat. What they grab and use is of no value to them other than a means to rise to the surface. Even at the surface there is no rest from anxiety, just more effort, more grabbing for fear of sinking again.
Out of your element. A fundamental lack of trust in the place you find yourself, a fear that you will become lost to it. Or perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that you are meant for greater things, and as years go by and your greatness still eludes you, you feel yourself caught in the powerful undertow of mediocrity. Similar effect: your sense of value becomes distorted in the effort to get out. You feel compelled to climb upon and over people you consider mediocre in order to rise and claim your entitlement. In the endless urge to betterment, who has not felt chained at times?
I prefer surrender to a strong, focused curiosity – the kind that reveals great value where it might not be immediately apparent. A buoyancy I can admire comes from a sense of ‘rightness’ of purpose that is in equal part intuitive and practical, and never rigidly self-serving. I prefer a kind of faith with eyes open. A trust generously laced with discernment, Havel’s ‘deep and powerful’ hope,
Vaclav Havel, from “Disturbing the Peace (1986)”,
Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
Havel has long been one of the strong voices that puts wind in my sails and floats my boat. If the word ‘meek’ means strength under control (as many say it did when the Matthew 5:5 was written), then to me that describes the Czech playwright & politician who gave us a chart for humble human courage and dignity – even and especially in absurdly turbulent waters.
Appropriate to a recent experience of mine is this,
Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.
In my experience, humility and good humour do not sink.