Unable to comprehend how to heal them, I interjected, “It’s not your duty to resolve.”
“Your responsibility is to be triple-A (American Automobile Association). You can only provide a map. You’re not the driver.”
Anthony de Mello noted the human condition well.
Most say they want to get out of kindergarten. Don’t believe them! All they want you to do is to mend their broken toys.
“Give me back my wife. Give me back my job. Give me back my money. Give me back my reputation, my success.”
This is what they want: they want their toys replaced. That’s all. Even the best psychologist will tell you that, that people don’t want to be cured. What they want is relief, for the cure is painful.
The path (map) before us appears unknown. It may be confusing and complicated, even dangerous. Before us lay potholes, debris, and potential injury. There are many unmarked highways and detours galore. It is all so confusing. Which way shall I go? What road shall I take?
Spiritual instruction has always been taught in bite-sized pieces. “Easy-peasy,” grade school friends would note. Formulaically, if we follow the prescribed set of Spiritual Laws, we’d get from Point A to Point B. Likewise, I had always presumed that the Bible was simple and provided a straightforward evacuation map to get us to heaven. These brief statements captured the essential kernels of Scripture.
I have concluded most Spiritual maps are not intended to be ‘evacuation maps.’ Neither is it an owner’s manual nor a love letter from God. What these Spiritual maps do is transform the traveler by teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. The ‘transformation’ may be messy, and often, you will find yourself wrestling.
There was a passage in the Bible that described Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob wrestled God for a night. If you like me, I’ve found myself ‘wrestling’ for nearly forty years. Some nights, I fought all day and all night, continually asking for a fresh vision of who He is and what He wanted. However, until I had this very personal struggle, my life could not be cemented. I could not call it my own.
What Jacob discovers is that wrestling was a means to grace, a channel for spiritual blessing. The same applies to us. The AAA map my friend should have given is one that begins with struggle but is also filled with blessings and faith. And that faith leads to peace. Traveling the map will change one’s identity and can be a profoundly gracious gift of restoration.
As de Mello noted, “Most people don’t live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts — generally somebody else’s — mechanical emotions, mechanical actions, mechanical reactions.”
“How do I find myself and the light?” asked a student.
“By taking the path that leads to the truth,” the Master replied.
“Will you help me walk the path?”
“I can only point the way. You must walk the path yourself.”
Go to AAA and get your map. Awake! Arise and walk!