Rev. Thurman in his Meditations of the Heart leads us to consider the complexity of human life. Life is simple but always complex.
He chides us for wanting simple solutions and singular problems rather than seeing that life is full of varieties which heap layer on layer of development in our lives. “We are living organisms embodying varied stages of growth, development and experience at any particular moment.”
When you’re a toddler learning new skills, you drop one you had already learned while developing the new one until with experience (and age) you can do both well.
As a teenager the complex cycle of hormones erupt, as do your emotions, and the dramatic encounters with your family (especially your parents).
When you’re a young adult you begin to untangle from your childhood understandings and relationships to reinvent them for yourself and renegotiate with yourself and those you love how you’re going to respond to life’s stuff.
As a functioning adult you manage (or frantically juggle) responsibilities and personal ethics and dreams and fears with the attendant worries of financial security and health and love.
As Thurman writes “there is no single evil but there are evils.” “Life is simple but ever complex.”
Our challenge is to not oversimplify all our concerns to one problem or thinking one solution will fix everything making it “the symbol of all frustrations or all resolutions.”
I’m reminding of a commercial for a vacuum cleaner; its punch line was: “Life is messy. Clean it up”.
I think Thurman would say: Life is messy. See it for what it is.”