There are situations aplenty that we cannot make better, but there are no situations we cannot make worse by the way we respond to them. We hold the power to make every situation as it arises as good as it can be by the way we respond to it. No super-hero ever had more power than that. You might think that we would put more thought and effort into the way we respond to what is happening and what needs to be done about it than we do. I wonder why we don't. Don't you?
Today is my 77th March 15. Last night, I lay awake pondering my vulnerabilities frailties and fragilities. There appear to be three: My eyesight. My hearing. My memory. I am at the mercy of "time and chance" in all of these areas. That means my proper role is to not dwell upon it, but to trust myself to deal appropriately with whatever happens when it happens and live as well as I can under the circumstances. Which is always our role at every stage of life. We don't control what happens, but we are in charge of how we respond to what happens. Every day, we get out of bed and see what we can do with the day. That never changes. How well we live with what we have to live with is always up to us.
We live to know where the lines lie. And to know where to draw the lines. And to draw them. And to honor those that are drawn. Respecting lines is the mark of maturity, wisdom, grace and peace. Too many people think there are no lines but the ones they draw. Too many other people think the only lines are the ones someone else draws. That leaves only a few of us to revere and hold in high regard the lines that are ours to draw and the lines that are ours to observe. There is an Old Testament commandment that did not make it into the top ten, but should be #1: "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark!" (And this implies that our neighbor should not mess with our landmark!) We all have to live within appropriate boundaries. That is the first rule of life. We have to know where we stop and someone else starts-- and stay within the lines! Which leaves us with Frasier Snowden's priceless declaration: "The only true philosophical question is, 'Where do you draw the line?'"
I think it is Martin Palmer who suggested an alternative translation for the Tao te Ching’s “The Tao that can be said/told is not the eternal Tao” would be, “The path that is a discernible path is not a reliable path.” I think that’s great. Because: Where does that leave us? A path that is not discernible is invisible and if it is discernible, it is not reliable. There may as well be no path! I love that. And I work around it this way: We don’t find the path. We wait for the path to find us! The path is not our responsibility. We are the path’s responsibility. Our responsibility is to be findable. We become findable by being still and quiet and watching what arises, unfolds, emerges, beckons. I like that because I am particularly/peculiarly cut out for that. Sitting still, being quiet, watching, listening, waiting is quite my shtick. I think we may interpret, understand, explain everything in light of what our shtick is. Need I say that we are stuck with our shtick? That is as "us" as anything is! Stick with your shtick! Should be a bumper shticker. PS. Do you know what your shtick is? If you don't, ask someone who knows you.