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"Pipe Creek Wilderness" (Bandera County, TX) | Frank A. Mills

Living in the Borderlands

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled, made nothing? Are you willing to be made nothing? Dipped into oblivion? If not you will never really change.

-D. H. Lawrence

Erased, canceled, made nothing, dipped into oblivion — This is what living in the Borderlands is all about. The Borderlands is that gray region where white and black absolutes do not exist, where the holy goodness of justice, mercy, and humility do battle with greed and ego. It is where the imperfectness of this world meets Grace and Redemption. Ultimately, living in the Borderlands is to experience the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to zero.”

The Borderlands are a unique place. In myth it is in the borderlands that men and women struggled with their god and became wounded-heroes, profoundly marked by the struggle. In mysticism it is in the borderlands that men and women struggled with the absoluteness of their absolutes and became saints, profoundly marked with the humility of not-knowing. In the ordinary, which we call "life," it is in the borderlands where men and women struggle daily in the abyss between existing and not-existing, between having and not-having, between acts of justice and mercy and acts of greed and ego — some becoming profoundly marked with compassion, while others become profoundly marked by ego.

In the Borderlands we …

  1. Grapple with our human propensity toward ego-satisfaction and greed.
  2. Grapple with our human propensity to claim to know, with absolute certainty, the mind of God.
  3. Grapple with those issues, both Spiritual and social, where people tend toward absolute unbending positions, and offer up potential alternatives derived from the "in-between."
  4. Grapple with our spirituality, the why of our existence.

The border means more than a customs house, a passport officer, a man with a gun. Over there everything is going to be different; life is never going to be quite the same again after your passport has been stamped.

-Graham Greene