Wander. Worshiper. Lover of leaving.
Though you’ve broken your vows a thousand times.
Except for one (the worshiper) in the list above, Rumi’s captivating invitation seems to be aimed at misfits and failures.
Wanderers have no direction.
Lover’s of leaving can’t make or keep commitments.
And breakers of vows simply can’t be trusted.
Why include worshipers into this list of people who, otherwise, clearly are a broken, fragile lot who need lots of encouragement, compassion and support?
I like to think that it’s because Rumi knew the human heart, mind and experience well. That’s one way of thinking about what the mystic is or what mystical experience is. The mystic allows him/herself to explore deeply who we are, opens her/his heart and mind to the hearts and minds and especially the stories of other travelers along the human highway.
I like to think that Rumi knew that even the faithful worshiper, the one who always shows up at the sanctuary, who is always there, continues to suffer the tribulations of the wanderer. That even the faithful worshiper has moments of despair or anger or even infantile selfishness where he/she wants to gather up their toys and go home because everyone else is being so difficult. That even the faithful worshiper who answers the call to prayer every single time knows that she/he has broken their vows a thousand times.
In other words, this is not an invitation for misfits and failures, for those poor few who can’t get it together. It’s the invitation that every human being needs to hear and experience as we wander, as we worship, as we leave and return and leave and return, as we break our vows and come to the broken, fragile places that broken vows always leave us. We need the invitation because this is how human beings live, love and grow. I’ve come to think that they are all necessary parts of the spiritual life that is of any substance.
Wandering. Worshiping. Leaving. Breaking vows. And returning, again and again, to the Beloved.