Not human enough?

11 May

This morning, I read these words  of Richard Rohr:

“We end up trying to be spiritual before we have learned how to be human”. It is not often that a sentence stops me in my tracks. This one did.

Why? Because it contains a truth so obvious, yet so rarely acknowledged.

In an increasingly secular culture, many people strive to become more spiritual: yoga, prayer, Ramadan, meditation, shopping. Each of these is an attempt to “escape” secularization and find a deeper meaning (and yes – it did mean to include shopping in that list!). Each is an attempt to rise above the mundanity of the every day and discover meaning, stumble over peace.

But what if we’ve got it the wrong way round? Richard Rohr seems to be saying that we need to start at the beginning – becoming more fully human before we can become more spiritual. If we cannot appreciate the beauty of the flowers around us – or a sunset, a rainbow – then how can we expect to grow in the unseen? If we cannot love that which is right before our eyes, how can we embrace that which we cannot see?

These words challenge me deeply.

Life in a hectic city is invariably  hectic – work is demanding, commuting is stressful, sleep can be hard to come by. Lack of time and lack of slumber rarely help in the quest to appreciate the mundane and cherish the obvious beauty in front of our eyes. Yet these are poor excuses. For all we really need to do is take a deep breath, open our eyes intentionally and taste the beauty of life. Is that really so hard?

I’ve made a decision. This weekend, I will choose to slow down. Slow down and look, listen, smell and taste life. And in so doing, I will, I hope, become just a little bit more human.

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