This is not a hunter-gatherer society; this is the early 21st century. Meaning yes, I do need to use my education, gifts and experience to benefit others and no, I cannot be well unless I'm doing so. I'm longing for the dignity of participating in life to an extent reasonably related to my abilities; I'm looking for the redemption of love.
A few weeks ago I wrote and published 9 posts in 9 days for my 9-year blogoversary, but then unpublished them and may or may not blog them once more. Given that, I'm attempting to consolidate the sense of the 9 posts into only two.
The original ministry model that attracted me keeps hunting me and chasing me down. As a very young kid I planned to be an artist, "but a greater Love drew me."
Forever I've had a thing about houses, so I'll begin by remembering when I was in high school walking past another fire-gutted building, yet another boarded-up house and grieving for the lives they'd once held and celebrated, yet sensing hope for the futures they still might contain if circumstances would change for them. Exactly like neighborhoods, people do the best where they get the most support, when they're in an environment where they can experience interdependence and trust, when have human and other connections that help provide literally vital (life-giving, life-sustaining) nutrients. The health of a house, the health of an individual depends upon the health of their environment and on their having life-giving nutrients flowing into them.
A few years ago I blogged about many kinds of poverty in addition to the no-brainer $$$, and how much more evident and visible those poverties seem to be in some areas than elsewhere. I'm using the analogy of decaying, declining, inner-city/working-class suburban neighborhoods that once had trees, amenities, services, people, street furniture, national retail outlets and hope but declined to complete dysfunction, fear and hopelessness as each of those features left moved out, broke and wasn't fixed or replaced or crumbled into total decay. No one can survive long, stay alive or be revived without being connected to sources of nourishment of all kinds.
Like anyone, telling myself how much worse everything could have been has been a major survival tactic for me and occasionally you gotta do that but it's always very very easy to find people worse off (in one or more aspects) and people who are better off (in one way or another). For sure, I'd taken a huge hit but just as true, many people have come out on the other side of far, far worse. But everything depends on my finding a community that welcomes me and my participation; in the history of the world it never has happened otherwise, because it cannot be otherwise.
Retrospectively glancing not only at the social, financial, occupational and assorted "other" poverties of the past too many years, I also need to assess and celebrate my accomplishments. Despite relative poverties of context and connections - human basics I need to find again in order to plain ole survive - I've accomplished lots more than simply keeping up with the laundry. However, my cry and question remains if what I'm asking is so unique, impossible and undoable, why have I observed people all around me doing exactly the ministry I prepared to do and still feel called to do? Why have most of my offers been refused and rebuffed? Why do other people have reasonable social context? This being a navy town, I often watch homecomings on the news and long for homecomings of my own. Part of me wants to discredit a couple of dozen people informing me that my abilities and level of accomplishment have been getting majorly in the way of my participating. So true that only Jesus saw everything clearly all the time, but even allowing for their vision being a tad askance, I know they're correct. Ages ago I made a scrapbook poster for myself that said, "Follow your heart--the best is yet to come! But you've got to be an expert!" And that I've become.
To be continued.