Guest Writer: Isabel Anders: Ricoeur and Anonymous: May You Live Long Enough
“I find myself only by losing myself” —Paul Ricoeur.
“It is always possible to argue against an interpretation, to confront interpretations, to arbitrate between them and seek for an agreement, even if this agreement remains beyond our reach.” —Paul Ricoeur.
May you live long enough …
To be able to laugh at your most embarrassing moments in the past—sportingly owning the temporary title of “dunce”—before passing it on to the next clown in this dance of win-and-lose, hit-and-error called “life.”
To side with your own former adversaries if only for a glancing moment—to accept that in certain past disagreements or outright conflicts that cobble your past: “The other person had a point.”
To realize that even your greatest “triumphs” owe much to outside influences: others’ kind and diligent contribution, the coming together of circumstances, and “sparks” of grace flung from afar that happened to hit you in the moment.
To experience prayer as the automatic breathing of petitions for others’ good—urgently present in your heart before your own needs or requests enter your awareness.
To meet someone whose efforts or example—in any category—put you to “shame,” and feel joy that such understanding or expertise or goodness exists in the world apart from your receiving any specific personal gain from it.
To recognize that your “defeats,” by the world’s judgment, were blessed checks and balances in the larger arc of your journey toward maturity and self-acceptance.
To feel genuinely sad for people who seemed to be unfair and cruel to you for no apparent reason, and to lament the conditions that must have made them that way—even when their cruelty caused you genuine pain.
To let go of any idea that we might be able to judge who is worthy or unworthy of anything that comes to them in this life- or in the life to come.
“We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” —2 Corinthians 4:18.
“We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. …” —Romans 5:3-5.