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Blog Alan Seale, August 31, 2020,  Intentional Living

These last months have taught me so much more about living in the moment and being with what is. In a recent wide-awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night moment while the world all around me was asleep, the words below were burned into my consciousness. As I sit down to write, these words take the lead.     

Do I dare
to touch 
the hidden places of the 

Do I dare 
sit down in 
feelings and thoughts that are so 

Do I dare
linger there 
longer than is 

Do I dare
let love and anger
and hope and despair
and confusion and clarity
and grief and gratitude… 
all cry out within me
at the same time? 

Do I dare
meet others
in the hidden places of their hearts?
Even when it’s not convenient?

Do I dare 
hold in my heart  
people I don’t know, 

places I’ve never been?

Do I dare
stand tall and be love,
sometimes quietly, 
sometimes boldly?

If I am true to the heart of my being, 
how can I not?

Touching and exploring the hidden places of the heart is maybe the overarching theme of my life. I’ve never articulated it in that way before. Yet there it is. Especially now, I can’t not go there. These times in which we are living keep taking me deeper. And it’s not just me. With every passing day, whether in deep conversations with some of you or chance conversations with neighbors while out for a walk, I realize more and more the ubiquity of this human experience. It’s where we are right now. 

One of the longings of the human spirit is to be seen for who we know ourselves to be. To be seen with dignity and respect. To be valued not for the thing we can do, but for who we are. And for who we can become.

In times of struggle or uncertainty, it can be hard to remember who we are. It can be hard to keep a focus and a sense of purpose. It can be hard to recognize the parts of us waiting to evolve even further. 

In these moments, we need one another. We need for someone to reach out a hand. It’s the greatest blessing when that happens—when someone recognizes and acknowledges our struggle yet chooses to see us in our light. And they reach out. And they walk with us until we are ready to walk on our own again. 

Humanitarian, philosopher, and physician Albert Schweitzer lived and breathed this understanding. In 1952, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life.” Biographer James Brabazon captured the essence of that philosophy: “We are brothers and sisters to all living things and owe to all of them the same care and respect that we wish for ourselves.”  Among Schweitzer’s many inspiring quotes, this one has been in front of me during these last months. 

Sometimes our light goes out, 
but is blown again into instant flame 
by an encounter with another human being. 
Each of us owes the deepest thanks 
to those who have rekindled 
this inner light.

Perhaps there has been someone in your life who, at a moment when you felt like your light had gone out, rekindled your deep inner flame. Whoever that may have been, take a moment to remember them now in gratitude and appreciation. You may even want to be in touch with them again, if possible, to let them know the gift they gave you.

And in the spirit of “Do I dare,” there may be someone in your life now who you recognize is struggling to keep their light shining. What if you dared to reach out? Even if now is not a convenient time. Even if you don’t know them well. What if you dared to meet them in the hidden places of the heart? And maybe even let them have a glimpse into the tender hidden places within you. 

In that moment, it’s not about telling your story—that moment is about rekindling their flame. That moment is about lifting them up. By daring to walk with them through the hidden places of their heart, you just might be the spark they need to rekindle their own flame. As their light returns, yours will also burn ever brighter. 

Do you dare?