These words were on the inside of a Dove Chocolate wrapper I opened several years ago. They intrigued me, so I parked the message in an Evernote note and set it aside. I was scanning through the notebook the other day and it leaped out at me again, so here I am.
What does it mean to think without limits?
One of my courses in seminary was entitled “Christian Worldview and Contextualization.” We spent a great deal of time discussing how our worldview impacts the way we interact with those things around us, from interpreting scripture to the way we speak and listen to people from different cultures and worldviews. It was actually pretty disheartening as I realized that in many cases, there is never an easy way to come to consensus because we rarely start from the same point.
We are often so limited by the way we have always interpreted things, or always done things, or always understood things, that we don’t realize that others interpret things, do things or understand things differently. The next limitation we place on ourselves is believing that our way of interpreting, doing and understanding is the correct way and everyone else is just … well … wrong.
Is there a possibility that we can ever think without limits or will we always be consigned to the traditions and cultures we have lived in all our lives.
We can! We should! Think without limits.
My mother was a dreamer. She wanted the world. Dad was a little more practical. He wanted stability and normalcy. Mom wanted to light the world on fire. Dad wanted to make sure we were all safe. But both of them thought without limits.
I’ve talked before about how Mom was crushed by rejection letters from publishers, but the thing is … she continued to send submissions in hopes that something might be published. When the world got too normal and stable for her, she would head for the basement and slap paint on a canvas or kick a potter’s wheel.
One of my favorite pieces of hers was a huge flop of a pot. I’m not sure what she was attempting to create, but it flopped in a big way. Mom wasn’t limited by the mass of crumpled clay. She saw a dragon and the next thing we knew, there was a strange candle holder with a curly-cue tail and crazy feet. I’d completely forgotten about this piece until a cousin decided that I needed to have it back. Mom had given it to her years ago and she thought it might be time for the dragon to return home. What a wonderful gift that was.
One day Mom was messing around with another flopped pot. She turned it on its side, gave it feet and a tail, eyes and tufts of hair. It was called “Beaster.” It’s still one of my favorite pieces of hers.
By the way, notice the upraised big toe on the back foot? That’s my big toe. I’ve always lifted my big toe when I’m excited or under a lot of stress. Since I’m generally barefoot, it was noticeable. And … the name “Beaster” also comes from me. My mother’s father was always calling people bloody bastards. When I was a child, I heard those words so often that people became beasters when I was annoyed with them. Mom thought it was cute. I’m sure Dad was a little more circumspect.
Those of you who do incredibly interesting things with items you have at hand, blow my mind. You think beyond the limits of what your eyes and tradition have told you the item is to be used for and create something amazing and fresh.
My challenge is to do the same thing with your relationships and people you encounter. Think without limits. Expand your worldview. Look at things from a different standpoint. Attempt to understand being limited by what tradition and culture has told you to be true.
This is one of my favorite ideas.
Think without limits.