There are moments when life is a tightrope walk. I have terrible balance.
Keeping to the rope reflects business as usual, in which I adjust to my new normal. I wake up in my new place, sleepily ride the wave of traffic to the office, conduct myself in a somewhat professional manner for eight hours, return home to a dog entirely too excited to see me (which is nice, but does he not know that I have yet to achieve greatness?), and spend my evenings doing any number of regular things. This is the rope.
I’m increasingly aware that in my current situation I am one step away, one slip to the side toward the empty space below, from packing a bag, shoveling all 85 pounds of dog into the car, and heading somewhere with no guarantee of return. That’s an intimidating thought. Every possibility is open, which makes it feel like none of them are. How do you choose? What are the choices?
This is where a certain type of theologically-minded person might step in and talk about the benefits of faith, of trusting God and God’s endlessly nuanced blueprint for my life. However, I am of a different theological mind. To me, this is also a situation full of the divine, but in no certain way. I’ve got a Tillichian-infused habit of seeing God as Being Itself, wildly mysterious, unpredictable, and—most importantly in my mind—not centered in or on me.
These aren’t bad things. But it means that divine mystery is both beautiful and dangerous. You can’t tame it. And if you can’t tame it, you probably can’t ask it to take your hand and walk you through certain portions of your life as a child crossing the street might do. It makes for a load of uncertainty, especially when you’re wishing the divine would be some kind of safety net.
As scary as the independence offered by divine mystery might be, it’s important to remember that you can’t be alone in the midst of Being. All things emerge from and grow within Being. It’s everything, including nothing. It’s beauty and pain and the new and the unknown. So I’m not alone as long as I keep my balance. I’m not alone when I lose it. I’m in danger during all of it.
The tension of the walked rope is as much about faith as any leap. In a relationship with Being, all things are of Being. The sorrow, the joy, the unease, the fear, the elation of a rope walked or fallen from. There's comfort for me in that. Even when I'm heading for real pain, I am known in that pain. I'm sat with in it.
This is the wideness and wildness of possibility; all is exposed, freeing, terrifying. In this sense of faith, I can walk carefully or fall to terrible consequences. I can do both simultaneously. I can take one step at a time, run with abandon, or be the rider of days.