8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (From Genesis 2, New International Version of the Bible.)
A man’s got to know his limitations… (Harry Callahan, in Magnum Force)
Embracing—I mean really embracing—limitations is difficult.
Simply put, I cannot do everything I want to do; there’s just no time.
These past few weeks, I have had to come to terms with this on a visceral level. Between being a husband and father to two…
between being a son and a brother and a friend…
between being a musician and a songwriter and an (aspiring) podcaster and author…
between being a spiritual human being who needs God and faith and community in order to stay sane…
Something just had to give.
I simply could not accomplish most of the things that were on my (ever-growing) to do list.
When I realized it, I through a tantrum. I mourned and pouted. I was indignant.
And then—irony of ironies—I started to frantically flail around for even more things to do to soothe the frustration and desperation in my soul.
This book would give me the insight I need.
This creative idea would be cool to develop.
This practice would be the thing that takes me to the next level (of what, exactly I have no idea).
To be human is to be limited. We weren’t allowed to grasp the tree of life.
I forget this all the time, and to the degree that I forget it or try to rebel to forcefully against it, I will experience profound anxiety and suffering.
To be human is to be limited. Which even includes eventually saying goodbye to this life. And when I say goodbye, technically there will be things undone.
But that can also be okay.
I need to remember to let go of things. When I can let go gracefully, at least two things happen: First, I can experience a little more peace and centeredness. I’m not frantically trying to churn through to do lists, or keep plates perpetually spinning in the air.
Second, I have the opportunity to see that the things that do stick around are the most important things, reflections of my true call and my true self, and I can invest in them with greater energy, purpose, and presence.