The “Great Exposure”

Howard Thurman writes today about “the nourishment of the Great Exposure.”  A nice phrase, no – the “Great Exposure.”

“We are surrounded every day by the exposure to sudden and devastating calamity. Despite all efforts to the contrary, there is no device by which we might get immunity from the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.’”  Granted, some may seem to by and large escape the more outrageous misfortunes, some not, yet my experience is that I am not only a poor judge of my own misfortunes, and perhaps more so (if I perceive them at all) the misfortunes of others.  As Thurman puts it: “Life is vulnerable – always there is the exposed flank.”  This is where I hear Thurman offering the “good news/bad news” conundrum: “It is the way of life that it be nourished and sustained by the constant threat, the sudden rending.” 

I am reminded here of Coleman Bank’s translation of Rumi’s The Guest House:

A joy, a depression, a meanness

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor

Welcome and entertain them all

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be cleaning you out for some new delight.

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