“The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more one fully enters into the communion of all creatures.” Wendell Berry
The sign above my daughter’s classroom door reads as follows:
THE DOOR OF INTEGRITY: I am responsible for everything I think, say, do and feel.
This is Viktor Frankl’s challenge to us when he writes, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
And, I would add, in our response lies our integrity, the evidence of our more or less cohesive self.
How incredible that we get to choose! That we, alone among creatures, have the opportunity to reflect on our impulses and find even more effective ways to interact with the world. Wendell Berry reminds us that this effort is never for its own sake but that the deepening of personal understanding is at once the strengthening of connection with everyone and everything around us.
Yes, we get to choose and it is even more extraordinary when we – when I – actually do.
May the happiness, the prosperity, the failure and the learning you experience in the coming year be marked by your deepest possible experience of integrity. And, however difficult it may be to swallow in the moment, may the aftertaste of personal responsibility be a savory accompaniment to the freedom you will have so rightly earned.
The best thing about the “Door of Integrity” is that we can all squeeze through.
Let’s meet on the other side.