Now seems an appropriate time to ask what it means to be human.
Although, in a sense, this question never goes away.
Instead, it changes its frame and perhaps its urgency.
Personally, it is a current question, and I don’t have a nice, clear-cut answer.
And that’s a good thing because I am wary of confident, watertight assertions. They don’t belong in the world I inhabit.
Perhaps that’s the key. What it means to be human can’t be answered in isolation. It only makes sense inside a dynamic system. We are not alone, above or separate from each other and the rest of life…
Yesterday, walking around the frozen valley in multiple layers of clothing, I was grateful that we were not shielded from winter here.
Yes, it’s beautiful, especially when the sky is clear, and the winter sun offers its burnished rays. But more than that, we need the different seasons to be fully human.
We need winter and wintering.
Yet, we often fight the latter. And close all the windows and doors and turn up the heating to shield us from the former, assuming all we require are the Instagram views.
But what if this is all part of being human? Physically, mentally and spiritually…
Pause. See differently. Re-story
It has been a week of reflections, asking honest questions that probe below the surface.
Monday: What are you looking for now? (poem)
Tuesday: What do you think you see?
Wednesday: A midweek Pause for Peace to look again
Friday: Being comfortable with our doubt and uncertainty (Gideon Heugh poem)
A few good words
I am feeling a little bit of a poetry deficit, so here is a piece I wrote around this time last year that continues this theme:
WHAT SHALL WE CALL THIS TIME
What shall we call this time,
this season whose borders
we have stepped across.
Do we know who you are,
can we know your name?
Who should we call ourselves
in this space, in this place,
friend or foe, lover or unknown…
And you, who are you?
Why are you here
on this road today?
We’ve missed the signposts
that tell us where we are,
and the clock that speaks the time
has wound down for lack of use.
So how do we talk about this world
that has been moulded
in the broken image of
who we could have been?
Yes, let’s talk. Let’s learn the language
to speak of this time
not as the enemy,
but as a fellow pilgrim.
For the now is here
beneath our feet.
+ Sue Heatherington
Thanks for reading