I am still awed when the words on the page unexpectedly answer or illuminate a question or thought I’ve been mulling over. And it happened again.
I’ve been casually sampling some of Thomas Merton’s journal entries. This day I decided to skip from February 10 and somehow landed on October 10, 1958, seventeen years after his arrival at the Trappist Monastery in Kentucky.
After a morning of second-guessing my decisions or, more accurately, lack of deciding anything and feeling quite self-centered, this is what I read.
Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.
…For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way.
Thomas Merton, October 10, 1958A Year with Thomas Merton
I tend to lead with fear, so; maybe I’m still a little afraid of being myself. I will admit it has been a challenge to figure out who that is sometimes. What if—okay, this is a different kind of “what if” – what if I just did whatever I had to do and accepted what I didn’t do?
Maybe my highest ambition could also be to be who I am—instead of all the truly unaccepting self talk of wondering if what I did is right or helpful or kind and on and on. Maybe that truly stands in the way of loving and being loved.
And that would have been enough of a gift from God for one day. Yet, there was more, as I serendipitously made my way through the next part of Isaiah 45.
Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
earthen vessels with the potter!
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it,
“What are you making?”
or “Your work has no handles”
…will you question me about my children?
In my evening review of my day in gratitude, I was grateful I didn’t respond to an email that didn’t deserve a response and that I didn’t know how to tactfully say what I wanted to say and I could let that go. I was grateful for a kindness when I thoughtfully changed my mind, I was grateful for an email of affirmation from my friend when I had just talked about myself instead of asking how she was doing in an earlier conversation. I was grateful for Mitch who does let me be myself. I was grateful for the assurance of Merton’s own revelation and God’s blatant challenge from Isaiah.
Be who I am and pray for courage to accept the me God made.