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 Blooming Stars

Acceptance of Limitations

            Each human being has a unique make-up by way of genetic and intellectual endowment, physical features, emotional disposition, and environmental factors. Each one is uniquely determined and conditioned by a combination of nature and nurture. We are very happy with our strengths, and we do not have any problem accepting them as such. Problem arises with our weaknesses/limitations. By accepting our weaknesses or limitations we can make them work for us. At least they will not slow us down or come in the way of our progress. For instance, when I have lost my balance and know for sure that I am going to fall, falling and rolling might be more helpful in spreading the given impact of the fall over many points of my body. On the other hand, resisting the fall might concentrate the impact at one or two points leading to some bad fractures. We have a choice to accept or reject our weaknesses. We reject our weaknesses at our own peril. Rejecting our weaknesses uses some of our precious energy that is not available for our growth and development. By accepting our weaknesses, we can use all the available energy for constructive activities. When we do not accept our weaknesses we are not accepting the reality of our condition; we wish things were different. By wishing things to be different from what they really are, we create our own make-believe realities, and lose touch with the world outside of us. That, of course, spells disaster.

            Our strengths tell us who we are and what we can do. Our weaknesses and limitations put a check on us and sober us up. They keep our feet solidly rooted in reality. We are not perfect; we are perfectible. We have to work with who we are and what we have been equipped with. We have to work with ourselves, and often in spite of ourselves. It is not how many talents we have been given that is important; it is what we do with the talents that we do have. We have to be accountable for the talents we have received. We cannot bury them as the ungrateful servant did and blamed his master as in the Parable of the Talents spoken by Christ (Matthew 25, 14-30). There is no justice or fairness in terms of what we came into this world with or the situations that we have been born into or the fortunes and good luck or misfortunes, accidents, diseases, disasters, and bad luck that we are subjected to.

            How can it be fair when my friend who was doing doctoral studies with me in St. Louis University, Missouri, USA, was struck down by cancer at the age of 34 long ago, and yet I am very much alive and kicking and writing all these things? Both of us have been selected by the Jesuits to teach in Jnana Deep Vidyapeeth in Pune, India. It does not really matter how many years we live. What matters are how we live the years we do have. Sometimes a shortcoming or blemish can even work in our favor. I am reminded of the story of a king and his attendant lost in a dense forest while hunting. They fell into the hands of a very primitive tribe searching for a man for a human sacrifice for the success of their crops. They did not consider the attendant to be fit for the sacrifice in that he had a bad cut on one of his fingers, that amounted to a blemish, and that was really caused by the king’s ire. The king who did not have any bodily blemish was sacrificed. In sum, a truly spiritual person focuses on strengths while accepting weaknesses. By accepting weaknesses we in a way overcome them and go beyond them.

 

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