Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wildly Inadequate

This morning I drove straight towards the blaze of the rising sun, on my way from the first of four sessions on the Qur'an and Islam. I was feeling energized by the first exploration, already looking forward to the next when two words popped into my head:

wildly inadequate

I'm participating in the study in part because I'm working on the revision of a program designed to foster dialogue and understanding between Christians and Muslims.

wildly inadequate

Despite having spent months in places where most of the people I interact with are Muslim, I know very little about Islam. This morning only served as reinforcement of that fact. I can tell you about my Muslims friends who've offered me hospitality and kindness: tea and sweets, conversation and invitations to come again. I can tell you about Muslim strangers who have offered the same: the Jordanian I met in Istanbul who helped me navigate public transportation, buying me a bus ticket, guiding me to the right bus, and talking to the driver so I'd be let off in the right place. I can't tell you much about the Qur'an. I can't tell you much about the religion's history. I can't tell you if what is written in our program will work for everyone.

I am wildly inadequate for the task ahead of me.

For some people, that knowledge might feel limiting. They might ask: Why try if I don't have the skills or the knowledge that I need? I might fail.

For me this morning, sun shining so bright I was nearly blinded, the words "wildly inadequate" were liberating!

What an opportunity for learning! How much might I grow in this process? Who might my teachers be?

If I already had the answers, I wouldn't need to learn. I couldn't be blinded by the sudden brightness of awareness, or awed by the clarity that comes with the slow adjustment to new light.

Instead of being filled with fear by my wealth of ignorance, I choose to open myself up, allowing the fear to leave in its own time, allowing whatever I may need to come my way and to find a home in me.

There seems to be energy swirling around me, turning me towards the connections that will guide my work, connections that will live with me long after the work is done. I choose to trust the swirling, the movement that is happening with very little help from me.

Wildly inadequate, I trust not so much in my abilities, but in my willingness. Time after time, steeped in the certainty of my deficiencies, I've said "Yes!" to things that didn't seem to make a lot of sense to anyone but me. Sometimes a "Yes!" didn't even make sense to me until long after the fact. Time after time, the deficiencies I perceived were actually strengths or led me to the strength of others. My weaknesses have led me to stumble and to be picked up. They've led me new friends. They've led me to new knowledge, and sometimes, even a bit of wisdom.

And so today, I celebrate the fact that I will never know it all. I celebrate that there will always be opportunities to open myself anew. I celebrate the fact that I need others to help me. I celebrate that I am


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