Immaturity barrels forward into the fray not knowing what lies ahead. Here, its bold as a lion. Consequences be damned. Give me my prey! Immaturity is also stubborn & fearful, refusing to move so much as an inch if all the conditions for the journey are not met. It can be a fickle, class-A procrastinator. In short, immaturity is an unpredictable, toothy beast whose head one may stroke in the moment & whose presence ought to be avoided in the next. There's no telling what it will do. Its all over the page, living by wit or by whim. When one has the fortune to discover within themselves this beast, its a sobering occasion. Can it be tamed? Or will it devour me?
We often think of immaturity in terms of developmental milestones. Each stage of life- toddler, adolescent, etc., on up to adulthood has its own developmental milestones to be attained. Most walk the road in community & pass these milestones with little fanfare, while some take the path through the forest & avoid the milestones altogether.
I took the path through the forest. It was less traveled, quiet & safe. I could still see the road from where I was. For the most part, my path paralleled the road. But there were times I had to improvise. When everyone else had a bridge, I had to walk a ways to find a shallow part to cross. They stayed dry & were on the other side in no time. I got wet & came trembling from the water. I clamored up the bank & sloshed on my way till I dried out. I used to feel angry about it. I used to feel sad. But now I feel a little hopeful, a little bold, a little scared as I make my way back through the trees. I've seen what my immaturity has cost me & I'm heading toward the road. I'm going back to move forward. And this time, I have an entourage waiting to guide me.
Its one thing to be immature & ignorant about it. Its another thing entirely to know it & acknowledge it. Its not necessarily a bane to one's character or worth. What matters is the awareness of its presence & what one does with the information. Will I choose to stay in the dark & keep doing things the way I've always done? Or will I take a risk & plunge myself into the light to experience new life? I've made my decision. I'm circling back, retracing steps others took a long time ago... steps I should have taken but didn't. Now that I'm older, I can cover ground more quickly. This doesn't have to be a long, drawn out experience. What matters is the experience itself.
A Prayer by Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.