“I can of my own self do nothing.” I am just coming to see how deep this truth goes. I was shredding my 2015 diary yesterday and came across this jotting: “Change nothing. Do nothing. All that is required of you, He performs.” It was in my hand, but I didn’t write it. Maybe Joel Goldsmith was briefly running things. Truth is, we do not know why we do what we do. An inner power acts; we think we’re doing something. “I did it!” we say. Or, expanding on the delusion, “High five!” Or shrivel up like a dried blueberry, as I did on a call-in show back in the day when no one called in. Are we actors? Plainly, no. We are the acted upon, the done-through. “Do you know how to do nothing?” asked Lao Tzu, pointing to the one thing we can be sure of: It’s all a mystery, top to bottom.
Fatherhood is a role. Employee, Lover and Victim are roles. Actors demonstrate right relationship to roles. Sir Laurence Olivier never confused himself with King Lear. Off the boards, he was immediately Larry. This was another role, a starring turn in a little drama called “The Story of Me.” Roles don’t matter, only the degree to which we identify with them. What we identify with, we suffer from.