These past few weeks I have become increasingly aware of the labels my mind attaches to things. Good, bad, stupid, successful, no big deal, etc. Some labels are easily traced to their origin story; others have murkier beginnings. I am finding quite often that the labels are heartily wrong.
Last night as I was trying to finish reading for my book club this weekend, I paused over this:
…that’s what makes us human.
We always want more.”
# Verghese | Cutting for Stone, p. 486
With all my rethinking of what is good and what is bad, I saw in this comment another possible mislabel. To want more is often marked as negative, selfish, misguided, wrong; even to be human, is often noted as inferior or something to apologise for. And yet, we are human, were made to be human; it wasn’t a mistake or a happenstance, but a creative choice that birthed humankind. And yet, humans are not the height of all that is, but certainly among the most capable of being aware of that truth. So, to want more seems a good thing to me, a recognition of our limitedness and our appreciation of the possible heights beyond us.
Now, here, I must specify that I think there is a difference between wanting more and wanting other. When I am not satisfied with myself or what I have and I want to be like someone else or have what someone else has, that is not wanting more; that is wanting other. And we all know how lifeless that pursuit is.
But what if the feeling of wanting more is actually a sign that you are alive, and so living into your skin that you know your limits and want to experience [as you] the heights that are beyond you?
In an indirect way, this reminds me of a photograph I took several years ago:
This photo was in my second gallery show, in the midst, a collection of photographs capturing moments in settings where otherwise such details would be easily overlooked. For this particular one, I noted: the shadow renders the tree more generously, displays a different reality.
What might happen outside of us (probably unbeknownst to us) if we would live fully as ourselves, wanting more?
Even hope itself always points to something beyond us:
Hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Who hopes for what she already has?
No. We hope for what we do not yet have,
& we wait for it with deep patience.
#personal.paraphrase | Romans 8:24-25