“I have come one step away from everything. And here I stay, far from everything, one step away." Antonio Porchia
In the quote above, taken from a book titled Voices, a slim collection of aphorisms that reflect the complexity, struggles, joys and paradoxes of human existence, Antonio Porchia seems to be asking us to consider how often we come close to important achievements or breakthroughs during our lives, but don't take the one more step we need to get there - how close, yet so far, we remain. Appropriately, Porchia doesn't turn this thought into one of those all too common "you can do it if you want to" platitudes. My sense is that he understands things are frequently not so simple. He recognizes that there are often times when we may be one step away but our circumstances make that step difficult if not impossible.
I wonder though, if rather than knowing we are one more step away, and then choosing not to, or being unable to take it, human existence is much more often characterized by not knowing we are one step away to begin with. In fact, I wonder if it is ever really possible to know for certain that we are just one more step away from anything. Many times I have thought I was one more step away from accomplishing or having something, only to have new obstacles or challenges arise. And history is littered with stories of those who, when they believed they were one more step from certain discoveries, inventions or breakthroughs, found they were still far away.
In this time when we struggle as a nation and world with the serious and complex issues of climate change and immigration, it can be overwhelming to try and discern what we might do to make things better. Or maybe it’s even simpler than that for us. Perhaps our greatest concerns are what to do in terms of a relationship or career crossroads.
Either way, what do our faith, the Bible, our tradition, and our leader - Jesus - tell us to do?
Take the step we can.
Not the easiest step. Not the most convenient step. Not the step everyone else is taking. The step we can take. And take that step knowing that God will help us keep moving in the direction we need to go. Take that step knowing that as part of a spiritual community, we will walk with, lean on or be leaned on, even carry and be carried by each other along the way as well.