Late, great, Preacher to the University at Boston University's Marsh Chapel Howard Thurman had essential advice for anyone trying to figure out what to do with their life—for the first time or two, or for the twentieth time or so: "Don't ask what the world needs, ask what brings you to life, because the world needs people who are fully alive." Another commonplace observes a person finds their calling – not always their career, job, or working life – where their gifts and passion intersect. At this age and stage, I'll add education and experience to the mix. I had every expectation I'd again have opps to engage world and church at levels related to my abilities. For a moment I'll discount the housing crash of September 2008 and the financial dominoes that tumbled in its wake, but anyone with my gifts, education, vision, ambition, (and hard work) could have expected to have a financial choice to attend symphony concerts, or jazz fests, a trip to Greece or the Pacific Rim every two or three years. This is not a hunter-gatherer society! Given how a shrinking, stuttering economy has caused everyone but the super-rich to cut back on everything, I'll add September 2008 and its aftermath back into the mix and say whatever the $$$ and employment markets, I still fully expected eventually to find a welcome place of embrace and participation. By 2006 or 2007 or so, I'd started to, and then it evaporated. At Good Friday lunch with the then interim pastor at North Minster, I told him Lent and Holy Week 2007 at North Minster and at North Park finally had shown me what might be possible. It's now six years later!
Over these years I've had watersheds galore. Besides major rejections, disappointments, and other "stuff" I maybe need to look at and through, I'm also reading the literal plethora of little things I'm not getting done as symptoms of too much that needs to change. "Not getting done" not because I've been so busy and involved in more important activities... In one of her early books, Kay Jamison mentioned aging so during a certain period of her life (exactly as I have over the past decade); she said it was inevitable, "with such loss of self, such distance from shelter, such proximity to death."
What brings me to life? What makes my heart sing? I enjoyed preparing notes and class handouts for Thursday bible studies at Church Around the Corner a couple months ago, but I truly loved interacting with the class. I felt like myself again; I was alive for that short time! Thinking of ways I can help make that happen again... I easily can make a simple list of ways I'd love interact with world and church again on a regular, ongoing basis.
In my blog and review of The Outermost House, I observed:
Walter Brueggemann insists much of life is sabbatarian, spent in the interstitial, liminal time between Good Friday afternoon and Easter Sunday dawn. During winter in a four-season climate like Cape Cod's, there is a simply being who we've become thus far that has a sense of Sabbath about it. We almost hang suspended in time waiting for gifts of birth, of spring, of new life to ready themselves.I'm talking about moving to Los Angeles. But to where, and to what? And how?
On the eve of Easter 2 I'm still in winter's holding pattern, still suspended in time waiting for new life to spring forth.