We are created to grow: plants, beasts, humans and the universe.
Optimism is the gardener’s viewpoint when planting a seed, repotting a plant, pruning limbs, and mulching the roots; long term, patient optimism about life progressing. That’s one of my favorite metaphors of God nurturing us in unknown ways as well as through the people in our lives.
With nurturing we grow into the next place where we have not been before, learning to walk, to read, to add numbers, to operate a vehicle, all unknown until we get there. We feel the risk, the concentration of trying, the disappointment of failure and the thrill of conquering something for the first time.
I must have been about one year old, but I remember the dizzying elation when I discovered I could walk. My parents must have made a big deal about it for me to remember the feeling. I had the faith that I could accomplish this feat. Each step was a surprising, fun discovery. At that point there was no thought that someday I would have to walk through places of daunting circumstances.
Always the unknown is the next step.
Growing is about doing more, finding a new way, going where you have not been. We take that step into the unknown because we believe, not because we know all about it. We are made with that mysterious capacity to believe before we acquire knowledge. Our faith keeps us walking into unknown ground,
- like Moses to approach a bush that is burning without being consumed,
- like a team of scientists to build a vehicle which flies faster than anything can go on earth for over forty years, so that it can send signals back to our tiny spark of light where its makers receive the message of its passage into interstellar space.
And as the Voyager spacecrafts head out, we keep moving into the unknown here. Fears threaten our faith and could stop our progress if we were alone. But each of us is one of billions on humanity‘s growing edge boosted forward by the billions before us. Our growth needs what has gone before and what our comrades are doing now.
The disciplines of growing include remembering as well as trusting our own contributions to the memories of others to come. We even have the capacity to commune with the unknown itself, to allow ourselves to trust what cannot be comprehended by the intellect, to let our minds be animated and informed by inspiration from God.
We put that inspiration into knowable forms. Something we all do which spacecraft cannot when moving into the unknown is invent new words, new language, new visual icons to assist and reassure each other in our outward movement.
I hope that the words and visuals in these blog posts will call you to expand upon what I have discovered and that you will leave your own expressions along the path of your on-going growth into the unknown.