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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Most Satisfying Project

July 20, 1969
Neil Armstrong takes first step on the moon
What is the most satisfying project you have completed? What was so special about finishing? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 683).

The most significant projects are often viewable as milestones. In my lifetime perhaps the most satisfying national project accomplished was landing a manned spacecraft on the moon. This signalled that in the future humanity would be open to further serious high-tech space exploration. In my personal life the most significant project also entailed a look forward. It would not be all joy in accomplishing it, however, for it presented real challenges. Nevertheless, it was clear that if I did not move forward with this project, it would represent a significant failure in my life. It would mean that I had encountered a clear and beckoning pathway to further maturity and happiness and had failed to accept the challenge. But it was also clear there would be severe stresses involved as the project progressed. It is bizarrely true that we can come to embrace our failures and unhappiness. I would have to face some ingrained behaviors and long-held defenses.

Some years ago in my 60s, I fell in love with Kathy, the ideal woman for me. She was gracious, kind, and considerate. We extensively shared religious convictions and an overall outlook towards life. Being single and lonely, there had been a droning chord of unhappiness in my life. Due to this plight, I had established cherished defenses. The most significant of these was to hold fast to relics representing past stages of my life. For example, a back bedroom functioned solely as a cluttered storehouse for old books and college papers. They surrounded the walls, covered the floor, and filled the closet. Somehow I thought that by holding close the past, I could prevent the passage of time. For me, ironically, the fountain of youth had become a littered stack of dusty, dry bones. To move forward it became clear that much of this mess had to go. It took about a month to clear the room. A lot of "little funerals" were duly observed before interring the relics in the trash. Yet, in the end, it was a very satisfying experience for it accepted reality and looked forward to a promising future. It represented liberation and the successful meeting of an urgent maturity milestone.

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