Limitations are a manifold thing. Some we impose by choice. Some are temporary and circumstantial, others permanent and fixed. Some are built into our nature (I will not be dunking a basketball anytime soon). Others are imposed upon us by others and need to be resisted. Some demand to be overcome if we are to flourish in this life, others require our recognition and respect if we are to become our true selves. Denial of limitations is a denial of our humanity. Living well in relation to limitations, discerning the difference between them, is at the heart of experiencing the fullness of this life.
When we are young, we can become paralyzed by the limitless possibilities before us. To put it another way, we can be frozen by the knowledge that to choose one path over another is to close ourselves off from countless other possibilities....and we can be daunted by the knowledge that if we fail to choose, we will be lost wandering in the wilderness of indecision.
Sitting here in my early 60's the field of choice is considerably narrowed by all the choices I have made heretofore. And yet, I live with a knowledge I did not have, could not have had, when I was young. Namely, the knowledge of how making choices would concentrate my life, my existence in particular ways that would open up a whole new field of possibilities for discovery and experience that were impossible to comprehend had I not chosen as I did. Limitations have a way of concentrating our lives which is what makes life interesting.
Perhaps there is a greater challenge than overcoming our fear of limitations. It is the challenge of discerning between those limitations that concentrate our lives in purposeful ways and those limitations that are barriers that must be overcome if our lives are to flourish.
Today, celebrate the limitations that have set you free in this life for life. Recognize those limitations that are closing you in.
Lord, grant us the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to chose the freedom you make possible in this life.
A POST POST NOTE: Physicist, Stephen Hawking died last night at the age of 76. At the age of 21 he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and was given two years to live. The limitations of life and limb must have been overwhelming. A fellow scientist I heard interviewed this morning on NPR said, "It was as if his physical limitations concentrated his mind so that he thought bigger things than he otherwise would have, he was able to wrap his mind around things like no one else ever has."
His life and work give a whole new meaning to the phrase: "The sky's the limit."