I recently discovered mold in my apartment. I suppose that’s where this all began—my hunt to deep clean, organize all that which has laid stagnant in my apartment for who knows how long. Too long.
Sifting through old graduate work, I found a letter written by a colleague in response to a presentation I gave on dualisms and the split between humans and nature, connecting it to my own personal story.
He wrote (sometimes in broken English as he is a native Asian):
“I really really appreciate all the trouble you’ve gone to, to tell the truth, your presentation sounds like a ‘tricky.’ You have experienced a lot of things. You have interested in many cultures. As you said, Eastern culture including Buddhism. You told us about farming. You touched a lot of materials. That’s you.
Of course you’re young. You can make mistakes. And you can confuse between comfortable science and inconvenient sacrifice. I can feel that by seeing you. You can do everything. You have a innumerous possibility. So I hope you keep your purity even though you will experience a lot of frustration, failure.
Brian [our professor] said, ‘We can make mistakes. That will give us a future.’”
I imagine my 28 year-old self standing up there, stumbling upon the correct words, confused about myself, my path, and hurting from all of the mistakes I’ve made. I’m sure I was up there blaming the split between humans and nature while underneath it all I was actually causing unnecessary suffering unbeknownst to myself.
I feel humbled and comforted to have friends walking beside me.
My colleague ended with:
“I believe in you. Someday you will be a good leader in this society. I’ll pray for you.”
I’m reminded of Matthew 5:19-20—
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.
I pray that our mistakes become our greatest allies. Or maybe I should rephrase that. I pray that my mistakes become my greatest allies.