If you are like me, then you like life "as good as it can be". Advanced investigation and organization, ideal outcomes and striving for the best are all in the game plan.
Yet, no matter how we plan and strive and organize and make plans for contingencies - sometimes, life strikes back at our best efforts. So it was this week on the east coast with Hurricane Sandy.
Walter Russell Mead ponders what we devotees of 12 step programs know: essentially, there is some of life over which we are powerless. Let Mead explain; he does it so very well.
We each try to build a self-sufficient world, a sturdy little life that is proof against storms and disasters — but none of us can really get that done.
Strangely, that admission of weakness opens the door to a new kind of strength. To acknowledge and accept weakness is to ground our lives more firmly in truth, and it turns out that to be grounded in reality is to become more able and more alive. Denial is hard work; those who try to stifle their awareness of the limits of human life and ambition in the busy rounds of daily life never reach their full potential.
To open your eyes to the fragility of life and to our dependence on that which is infinitely greater than ourselves is to enter more deeply into life. To come to terms with the radical insecurity in which we all live is to find a different and more reliable kind of security. The joys and occupations of ordinary life aren’t all there is to existence, but neither are the great and all-destroying storms. There is a calm beyond the storm, and the same force that sends these storms into our lives offers a peace and security that no storm can destroy.
We hope that our readers will take the opportunity that a storm like this offers, step back from their daily lives, and reach out to the Power who plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. Getting the right connection with the highest power of all not only gives you a place of refuge when the big storm finally comes; it transforms daily life and infuses ordinary occupations with greater meaning and wonder than you ever understood.
The world needs people who have that kind of strength and confidence. Storms much greater than Sandy are moving through our lives these days: the storms shaking the Middle East, recasting the economy, transforming the political horizons of Asia. It will take strong and grounded people to ride these mighty storms; paradoxically, it is only by coming to terms with our limits and weakness that we can find the strength and the serenity to face what lies ahead.