America is a country where, theoretically, any native born citizen can be president. Barack proved that it can be done regardless of race; Palin tried to prove that it could be done regardless of whether one was actually qualified.
As I settle into the path that I have chosen and that has chosen me, I cannot help but think about what I will most likely not be doing in this lifetime. Unless I wake up with some completely different priorities tomorrow, I am not going to be a doctor or a rock star or the governor of Alaska. Without a radical change of heart I will not be an aid worker in Afghanistan or a scientist studying polar ice or a film director. Luck and fate and desire and following the path of least resistance combined with the gifts that God has given me, have helped me find my way to a life that precludes countless options.
None of this is said to express regret; I simply recognize that making one decision will always limit other possibilities. It is a testament to my own contentment and my own belief in my journey.
As much as I am full of near limitless hope for America right now, I think about limitations when I look at all that Barack Obama has before him. For all that he might accomplish, there are endless things that prove impossible for one man to do, despite his intelligence and dedication. If the future leader of what is still the most powerful country in the world must confront the boundaries of what one person can do, how do we private citizens trying to keep together one relatively simple life deal with all that we will not attain?
Everyone is constrained in some way. A doctor who saves lives is powerless to eradicate the poverty that weakens the body. A reporter who brings us stories of the Sudan cannot stop the fighting she describes. A teacher who gives children the gift of language cannot change her students’ home life if it is not supportive of education.
Reality will always intercede at some level when we extend ourselves into the world around us, but that cannot stop us from engaging in life’s pain and glory. Mortality and time and space burden all of us and hold us back in myriad ways.
It is inside the soul that we find infinity and the erasure of barriers. A relationship with all that is limitless is always available if we look within.
The knowledge that we are all shaped by the limits of being human, paired with this sense that there is always an unfettered world of possibility within seems the only way to thrive. We can let go of all that we do not possess and embrace all that we do have in our unique lives, vital and essential each in their own way.