...no one can live without defenses; some situations are ambiguous and quite a few are not; there's extreme rationalization and there's lying. No matter how I parse everything, my life has not rewoven the connections and opportunities I need to be human and whole. It's one thing to say (no lie and not rationalizing!) I've accomplished more than I'd ever imagined, but as Oprah said to the teenager, you know you can't do life on your own and as the guy at the Bethsaida Pool replied to Jesus' asking, "do you want to be healed?"—"there is no one to pick me up and put me in the pool after the angel stirs the waters." I've more than caught the dreams of the preschooler who was going to be an artist; I've more than fulfilled the promise of the urban teenager with a scholarship in piano to a major music school; I've more than claimed the vision of the 23(!)-year old leading the intercessions she'd written from the chancel of the Philadelphia seminary. God created us for community and calls us to use our gifts for the world, so it's not about standalone, disconnected, unconnected skills, education, accomplishments—it's about a place and time to use them in service to others. If there are no takers it cannot happen and, by the way, real life is local!
a recent Facebook note copied from notes I put together close to a decade ago:
"the unknown undoes us so badly"
meaning & purpose keeps you sane!
I had a normal and it's gone...
define success differently:
• get through today; not life goals yet!
• real short-term goals
• an hour, afternoon, day at a time
not just loss, but also change
ask for help!
hill too steep to climb?
set up your support system
let people give to you
support system is critical
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
During summer 2008 I believed I'd finally be starting new years of shared history when I signed on for Reading the Bible Economically—after all, the participants were people with similar passions to mine and now, almost 4 years later, what now? It was about the 23402398th instance of "this next thing will work; this next thing will work; this next thing will work" and none of them has yet. God created us social beings. Am I that incompetent and inept, or have the decades of social isolation made me sooooo strange to others (as well as to myself) that no one wants anything to do with me?
I am a good self-observer, yet have the wisdom (especially after all these years of social isolation) not to trust myself, (especially without having the mirror of the other to let me know how I'm doing). But glancing back, the one thing I can confidently say is this is the story of someone who's been trying to do life on her own.
My life (still!) cries out for resurrection!!!
more on Friday, 04 May: two years ago, during Lent 2010 I spent $200 I didn't have to attend the Prophetic Imagination Conference at Local Church-Related University by the Ocean. I'd been back in town almost 10 years and as a liturgical artist and/or with my interest in ecological theology *should* have been one of the local presenters, but in any case, at the conference I introduced myself to almost everyone around me and no one cared. It's not who you know or what you know; it's who knows you. When you move to a new city or section of the country it takes a while to meet and connect, and for a while it can be fun and an adventure. But it is now almost 12 years.