We all know the famous words of Socrates,
The unexamined life is not worth living.
But wonder if we know the true weight this claim, as told in the words of Malcolm X,
The examined life is painful.
It is not easy, any part of this process, but I hold to its freeing. For only through examination do we truly see ourselves, others, and the gravity of situations.
Lent has been a season of intense examination. I am learning about pain. I am learning about honesty. I am learning about the beauty that comes out of the collision of these two words. The potential for growth (the shoot coming up from the stump) that can only be realized when we sit for a long time in the despair of moment.
I keep coming back to this reflection, I made after an Atheism for Lent post…
I am haunted by the duty of the poet/singer/songwriter because you have to face your shit. The poets, I love do not mince words, they do not run from feelings, doubts, etc. They have mastered the art of proclaiming their humanity (shit and all) something I am too quick to hide. Great poets make peace with the darkness, showcasing raw reality. As I write poetry, I become more and more aware of my hangups with embracing me (thoughts, feelings, pains, doubts, longings). And God apart from the projections of the church.
I am called to examine, to question, to interrogate, to wrestle, to be with. And all of this makes me uncomfortable because it is the practice of shattering daydreams. Of facing the stark reality, of coming home to actual state of things, and it’s hard. It’s not flattering. It’s what I like to call the un-instragrammed life. Life without the filters, that make everything seem altogether glorious, epic, and vivid. It’s sunsets only eyes memorize, it’s Oprah without makeup, it’s those who sit with their demons long enough to know their names and stories. It’s realizing that “we are all haunted houses” as Peter Rollins says.
I am not a quick pilgrim to this path, though I pursue it for the sake of wholeness. This rawness, the filter of all depth and beauty. In this call, I am thankful for the words of
Thich Nhat Hanh
I have arrived I am here my destination is in each step.