“Hello Michael! I know how busy you are, but I’ve done everything I can think of and I am desperate for your help!” I said.
The words were a millisecond from my mouth when I realized what an illusion, or perhaps delusion, I was living. I like to think of myself as living a self-reliant life. And, “from the mouth of babes!” Yes, in the total scheme — the immensity — of life, I am clearly a newborn baby living in our world’s vast womb of creation.
“I had crafted this irrigation system and thought I understood every part of it,” I said when Michael Jensen arrived at my home an hour later. “But this is beyond me.”
Those words, “this is beyond me,” allowed a rush of relief over my shoulders. I appreciated my true position for the first time in weeks. I just came to understand that this experience was one of the most important of my life. It was an opportunity for me to learn a critical, personalized lesson: The infinite cannot be controlled.
As human beings, we like to carve out a little corner of infinity so we can try to make sense of it all. We put a fence around one small piece so there is a boundary of security. A place we can control. We’ve all done it and we’ll all continue to do it. It simply allows us to live conveniently in many ways.
We can, however, live conveniently while admiring the magnificent. Doing so is like tapping into an ever flowing well of life giving water.
Look at surrounding detail. I reached through the pasture fence as a gesture of friendship. My steers offered their noses in response. Their moist, smooth noses touched my hand. Then their uniquely crafted tongues snaked out of their mouths. They were like sand paper to the touch with an ability to grasp and influence what they desired into their mouths. As soon as I began to focus on these intriguing details, and how they were different, my troubles faded into the background.
Appreciate infinite diversity. I walked away from my steers, shovel in hand, and began to dig out the valve box that was buried in the ground. I looked at each scoop of dirt and began to notice a wide variety of insects and other kinds of life. When I examined the dirt from the hole, I soon saw there were all kinds of creatures that called this small patch of dirt home. This view caused me to revere the fact that this isn’t just my home. It is our home and they all play a specialized role in keeping it beautiful.
Embrace specialization. All of the creatures making up our home have unique and specialized talents. None of these can live life without the help of other inhabitants We all need each other.
I also needed Mike at the moment. I looked up at him and saw the talents that are uniquely his. When he arrived, I was afraid my well was going dry. But now that I was paying attention to the details of infinite diversity, and embracing the specialized talents of those I was with, a new reality sprang into view.
Thank goodness for Mike’s talents. Thank goodness for the infinite number of creatures that make this world our home. And, thank goodness they were there to put water back into my well of life.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.