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The Consent to Discover

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.” — André Gide

The truth is, we each concede more than we consent. The truth is, discovery is a shore too far for many of us. And yet we each set sail in our own way from the past every day. What seems the same alters ever so slightly each day, imperceptibly, inalterably, and we wrestle with the truth of it whether we set our course for distant shores or futilely try to hold on with all our might to what once was.

This is the time of year when parents post pictures of children heading off to school, on their way to discovering their own new lands. The discovery isn’t just for the children, but the parents too, as they return to a home different than it was before. At such moments the daily leap is profound in its breadth.

So often we dwell on the gap between where we are and where we hope to be and our confidence waivers. Discovery requires a leap into the unknown, and the courageous consent to make that leap. Indeed, the thrill of losing sight of who we once were and gliding into an unknown future might be frightening, but ultimately, doesn’t it bring us to places we never thought possible?

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we might lose that we forget about what we might find.

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