Krista Tippett is one of the most insightful and thoughtful journalists working today. Her show On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?” On Tuesday, I was privileged to hear her talk about her new book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living in conversation with my friend Andrew Zolli, author of the book Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back.
I was most struck by a comment that began the conversation: Tippett had lived in East Germany in the 1980s, and as she said, there was a change in the air at that time… but no one knew explicitly that it was coming. On its face, it looked like the Cold War would go on for decades, while in fact, underneath the surface, the rumblings of a new social system were rising up.
As Tippett recounts:
On the night the Wall fell, after a bumbling bureaucrat misspoke at a press conference, the entire city walked joyfully through it. The border guards joined them. It truly nearly was that simple. There are places in human experience that politics cannot analyze or address, and they hold more possibility for change that we can begin to imagine.
My time in Berlin began to point me to the kinds of questions I’ve asked ever since. How to give voice to those raw, essential, heart-breaking and life-giving places in us, so that we may know them more consciously, live what they teach us, and mine their wisdom for our life together?
We need to remember that there is so much more change within us than we believe possible. Yes, we struggle. Yes, we fail. Yes, we don’t always live up to our best selves. But when we wade into those dark and scary places, we find the seeds of growth.