Recently, my friend Jacqueline taught me a new expression. Sometimes, when things are as far out as people can imagine, we call that the cutting edge. Jacqueline taught me that the bleeding edge is even further out. It is an organic living boundary where something is happening, sometimes uncomfortable, but probably growth.
I can conceive of business as usual. I can even imagine taking a risk in my spiritual life, a risk in believing, in loving, in seeking. Even if these risks are out of my comfort zone, I have the assurance that I am moving toward the Ground of All Being. God gives me the potential to grow as part of my very birthright. And, then there are challenges.
Do Black Lives actually Matter? How do I live into that ideal? In order to true up my life with that priority or any other, I may have to move beyond what I already know. Is it the bleeding edge? Maybe. My growth is something beyond the judgment of another. It is my responsibility and my domain. It is with this patience and flexibility that I can observe the growth of another.
This summer, at General Assembly, thousands of Unitarian Universalists will meet in Portland, Oregon. Part of the conversation will be how we commit, how we respond to the ongoing challenge of climate change and the exploitation and degradation of the environment. If it is too late to reverse the trauma to the Earth, how shall we live?
What does God see when They look at me? At the Church Universal? At the world, Earth and people? Anything we hope, hold in confident expectation, for today, or this week, or the present-future in which we are living is urging us to move out to the bleeding edge and to leave behind masks of pretense. Bring yourself. Bring your lived experience. Out there on the bleeding edge, people who relate their words and deeds as closely as possible to each other are in high demand.
I know it might be frightening in some ways. If you give your heart to what matters, then people will know where your heart is. But if you expose your heart other things are possible too. People whose hearts beat in the same rhythm as yours will be able to find you. They will be able to speak to your heart when it is sore. The real person that you are will be affirmed when they arrive.
Gail Sheehy put it this way, “With each passage of human growth, we must shed a protective structure [like a hardy crustacean]. We are left exposed and vulnerable — but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn’t known before.”
Come to the bleeding edge. We can work and grow there together.