“Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing. I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.” — Flannery O’Connor
This is the most vivid description of ego as our enemy that I’ve come across. Whatever your feelings on God, put that aside for a moment and recognize the prayer for what it is—a cry to get out of our own way to do what we know we’re here to do. For there’s nothing more universal than the internal struggle of ego casting a shadow on our true mission.
Struggle informs. It teaches us where our gaps are. Gaps in knowledge or skill or physical strength. Learning where our gaps are offers us an opportunity to bridge it with effort and help. Alternatively, we might turn from the gap thinking it a chasm we cannot cross. We all make choices on what we might grow into and what we let die. When that dying is a piece of us it feels a bit more personal, doesn’t it?
And yet we must choose to move forward in our lives. We must decide what to be and go be it. That may sound smug and simplistic on the surface, especially when we so clearly see the gaps and view it as a chasm. But the ask isn’t to take a flying leap, but to begin closing that gap, one step at a time. To gently push ourselves out of the way, just a little, to see what we might become over time, should we take another step after this one.
What casts a greater shadow over our potential than our own ego? We must learn to get out of our own way. For there’s so much more beyond our current position. Can’t you just see it?