Will the center hold? That's a question that has been much on my mind of late, in a desperate, damn-I-hope-so kind of way. Because things have been falling apart, and I have a vested interest in seeing that the center does, indeed, hold. I've been lost before, drifting, with no center, no mooring, and no reason to want to find one. The unbearable lightness of being, Milan Kundera calls it, when there is just not enough substance to give you an anchor in this world. No center. I've been there, and it's not pretty; I don't want to go back, but it creeps closer when things fall apart.
And things do fall apart. Cars break down, appliances stop working, houses need repair, families tear apart, relationships founder. Things fall apart, and we begin to wonder, what will be left standing? Will the center, at least a single burning beacon of light at the center, hold?
As I lay in bed one night, worn out but unable to sleep, I suddenly realized that in every direction I looked things were falling apart. Just at that moment, I heard a giant crash - part of my closet had just (I kid you not) fallen apart. It was like a cosmic exclamation point to my realization. Great, at least the universe has a sense of humor. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, but hey, when in doubt, laugh.
My question is, what new truth is all this falling apart bringing to me? Or rather, what ancient truth am I being asked to acknowledge? As if I have to ask. As if the answer isn't brought to me in myriad ways at every moment. Things fall apart for a reason: because we must let go of something. The illusion of security, the desire for life to be unchanging, our ideas about ourselves and others, resentments and regrets, the need to be loved - all of these begin in real and vibrant emotion but so often become chains in which we wrap ourselves. And we are called to let go of these illusions and desires for what is so that what will be can come to us.
So I've been working at breathing, letting go, not demanding that things be any particular way. Sometimes that's hard, and sometimes it's so painful that hard sounds really nice. But here's the thing: when I let go, the center holds effortlessly. It's in grasping tightly that the core gets shaken, and in letting go that the perfection of every moment and action and particle of the universe is revealed. Because the truth is that the center will always hold, it can do no other: the center is where God is, and the center is God. The hard part is just in realizing that.