“The flowering of the person is not a state at which we arrive, it is the movement that results from perpetual incompleteness” (Paul Tournier).
WITHIN US ALL, THERE IS A DEEP, INSTINCTIVE URGE TO MOVE AHEAD. We are creatures who dream and aspire. We set goals and reach toward them. We are not content to stay put. That being true, it’s all the more strange that many of us do stay put! We make ourselves miserable when we stand still, but we do it anyway. What we need is a more powerful appreciation of “movement.”
Change. To live is to change, and so if we are living, we are changing. “Our nature lies in movement; absolute rest is death” (Blaise Pascal). But change is frightening as well as inconvenient. Most of us tend to resist significant change. But in our more serious moments, we realize that resisting change is resisting growth. Even where our hearts are concerned, we need to embrace the idea of moving forward. As Paul Tournier said, “Love is not a state, it is a movement.”
Progress. While change and movement can be good ideas, a word of warning is needed: not all change is good. There is no inherent value in change; it is good only when it moves us in the direction of true progress. As the pace of change around us increases, we need this warning all the more. It’s easy to let ourselves be swept along by the latest “new” thing, but before we move in any direction, let’s honestly inquire whether that change is moving us upward or downward.
Engagement with life. This is a different kind of movement, but it is nonetheless important. Some people back away from any real engagement or involvement with life because that kind of movement requires effort. They would rather lie down and remain passive than move out onto the battlefield where the action is. But when we take the easy way out, we lose the opportunity to learn new skills and equip ourselves for useful work. When we stay put, we fail to serve.
So let me come right out and ask you: are you a person who is characterized by movement? Are you going toward any worthy destination? And are you actively and interestingly engaged with the people and circumstances around you? If not, I urge you to get moving. The static life is no life at all. It is a death worse than death itself.
“The great affair is movement” (Robert Louis Stevenson).