Standing on the Other Side
By Sister Renee
Who are the “Wisdom People” in your life – the ones you go to when you need perspective and direction, when you are incapacitated by the complexity of your circumstances, when you need to see farther you can? We seek these people out to drink in their clarity, peace and magnanimity. We ask them to lift us onto their shoulders.
But how did these “Wisdom People” grow their capacity for great-heartedness? How did they learn to stand on the other side of experience and discern its deeper meaning?
Each of our lives is a classroom for such learning. Consider the times when you have stood in the seam between two huge pieces of your life’s fabric. These are the times of deep events for us and for those we love. It may have been your son’s or daughter’s wedding, their deployment to a foreign war, your own new job or need to find one. It may have been a grim diagnosis for someone you love or the relief of a benign report.
Whatever it was, it was a moment when you saw the lines of future, even though the spaces were not yet colored in. Whatever it was, it was a time powerful enough to squeeze from you those rare tears where joy, awe and sorrow overwhelm each other. In those moments, we stand on the other side of experience, of all that is possible, and we HOPE!
And then the moment passes. Life washes over us in the rhythm of ordinary days and nights. We swim in the middle of the daily stream and sometimes struggle not to be engulfed by the waves. At times in our lives, we all find ourselves dwarfed by life’s limitations — where we cannot see beyond our present pain, loss, fear, hurt or selfishness.
This week, Jews and Christians throughout the world, and – with them, all of us – have the opportunity to “stand on the other side”. Passover invites us to stand on the other side of slavery — to put on the joy of the Chosen People as they finally walked across the Red Sea and into the Promised Land. Easter calls us to stand on the other side of death — to put on the vision of Jesus as he burst forth from the dark tomb into the brilliance of Resurrection.
These celebrations remind us that life is always more than the present moment and that standing on the faith-filled “other side” of experience can bring us the joy, healing and wisdom we seek.
May each of you and your families be blessed by such graces during this Holy Week and throughout your lives.