WHAT IS FULFILLMENT
What is fulfillment? Fulfillment is the state or quality of being completed or realized.
A waterfall is like that- your eye catches a fragment of it like a ripped veil fluttering- you see it fall and splatter on the rocks and spray. Then you look to the top and see another phantasm tendril shifting, falling. A part of your mind realizes that this is going to be happening forever. That’s why we always get transfixed by a waterfall; the waterfall is somehow becoming realized in you.
But when you turn your head away, you see it as a static picture or even an acid etched lithograph. Do not mistake the picture of the waterfall for the waterfall itself. We all seek fulfillment- but what we are seeking is the picture of the thing, not the reality of being there.
Fulfillment is not something we can do ourselves; we cannot follow the rules to fulfillment, we cannot “succeed” our way there, or even create our way there: it can only occur in the opening our lives.
When you’re young, you always think that there must be some kind of rules to get there -like that Indigo Girls song “I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains, I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain.” Maybe it was because my favorite family member was my chief of Police grandfather who seemed to have rules for everything- apples should be held with a napkin- tables should be dusted even under them in the places no one can see, a tennis racket held like this, a golf club like this…
In truth rules are good for getting by but there’s more than the rules for fulfillment. You can follow all the rules but why? Who made the rules? Some people seem to think that faith is about following the rules. All you need to do to be happy is read the Ten Commandments… and make sure that other people are following them. But what kind of rules would Jesus follow -you ever really read these gospels? He doesn’t seem to be good at following the rules which why he keeps on getting in trouble with those whom the rules are important like the Sanhedrin and the Roman Empire.
No you can’t follow the rules to fulfillment. When you look at that water falling off the cliff you’re witness to a kind of breathtaking wonderful chaos. That relationship with God with you transfixed by that dynamic watery wonder has nothing to do with the rules.
So maybe you can’t follow the rules to fulfillment but perhaps you can succeed your way to fulfillment? The great thing about success is that when you succeed at something you get recognition and esteem. Also usually, along with this comes at least a living if not a whole whopping unbelievable multi-home fantastic vacation stock market portfolio success. “Sure you’ll have problems just like everyone else but they’ll be champaign problems…” The work to get there is worth it all, because lets face it, when you’re working hard your consumed, and when you’re consumed for a moment at least that deeper ambivalence you might feel with the universe is put at bay.
But What kind of success did Jesus have? Ultimate success actually, but you’ll notice that when Jesus prays to have this cup taken from him at the Garden of Gesthemene, the cup wasn’t taken from him.
Success is the picture of the waterfall not the actual thing. By all means be successful, just don’t confuse success with fulfillment.
Perhaps you can create your way to fulfillment though, you know like those brilliant writers, artists, film-makers who didn’t follow any rules- weren’t really trying to succeed at all, they were just being real and opening their lives to us all and in this we found the truth. Or maybe your cup of tea is more like those crazy wonderful people who built homes without electricity like a newly energized Thoreau, or built sailboats and sailed off to Tahiti like a neo-Slocum.
But it seems like even though great paintings, books, films, homes and boats can move through a person as if a piece of God’s creation itself and leave that frail vessel untouched like fantastic wine flowing from a dirty, cracked cup. Not so occasionally we understand the the Ernest Hemingways, David Foster Wallaces, and Virginia Wolfes of the world created maybe because that was the only thing keeping them temporarily from offing themselves. Occasionally we understand that just because someone built for themselves a utopia in the form of a home or a sailing vessel, they still struggle with the basic things like sanity, hope and integrity.
Christ did not create himself. He said some creative and beautiful things but they were all drawn up from that well underneath. I mean it was startling what he said, but it came from some place his listeners knew.
The water once falling does not produce the fall and shift and shape, no that was all predetermined by the rocks and edge and cliff hidden underneath.
Fulfillment is the state of being completed. You cannot follow the rules there, you cannot succeed to this state nor can you creatively attain it, it’s something that happens to you. Indeed you are not you, for the you you’re thinking of, is just the snapshot of the waterfall not the thing itself. Fulfillment is in the end Gods uncontrollable, undeserved, river of Grace cresting over the edge of the cross.
Forgiveness is the fall, embracing the love that brings things together is the fall, saying yes to being the end to prejudice is the fall. Listening to the other, bringing wholeness to those who know only fear and betrayal is the fall. Let us gather in the mist and be saved. “For those who seek to save their lives shall loose them, but those who lose them for my sake, for the Gospel shall find them.”