My friend Ben and I talk about ideas regularly, and I always grow and change because of it. Recently he wrote me this:
"In watching Rivers and Tides (Andy Goldsworthy) I was really struck by how many times he mentions how he is “trying to understand” the environment and the materials he is working with and then from that “trying to understand” life in more depth. Towards the beginning of the film he is creating a rock sculpture near the ocean… as he works it collapses several times. He mentions that each time it collapses he learns a little bit more about the stone … He also mentions that the ground beneath the sculpture is different than what he is used to…
Later on in the film he mentions how much his work is often on the edge of collapse.
What if we started our work (by) trying to understand the community we’re in… trying to understand the work already in progress… trying to understand what is going on in the kingdom, what God already has done… what he has provided for us and our work…
I wonder how our work would change if we allowed the collapse to teach us… if we took the time to understand “the stones”. Andy mentions that the stones he was working with were much different than the stones he worked with back home (he was in Canada for a commission)… so with each collapse he learned a little bit more about the stones. Ultimately he was able to build a sculpture that withstood the oceans tide. As you watch the tide come in you’re absolutely convinced its going to collapse, because you watched it collapse several times as he tried to build it… the ocean completely covers it eventually. As the tide moves out the sculpture stands fully intact."
Ben was talking about this in regards to starting or developing communities of faith, but I think it applies to many areas of life.