On the cusp of something big
Did you ever feel like you were on the cusp of something big – so close you could almost touch it – but also so new and so fragile that if you looked away, it might blow away, forever? This has been a semester of realizing that if that “something big” is the voice of God calling me to something new – it won’t blow away unless I whip out a hairdryer to make it blow away! That thing will be so big I’d have to be driving in the opposite direction to actually miss it. And that “word of life” will be so close in that process, that I can hear it, I can see it, I can look at it, I can touch it – just as it says in the first epistle of John, chapter 1, verse 1. That voice of God, that leading of Providence, is just going to keep on re-emerging, re-surfacing, resounding in my very soul – until I can fully embrace it. And go with Him where He’s going.
In these days, like Huckleberry Finn, I am beginning to step into my life of radical freedom. For him, it is life lived on a raft going down a river, truly beholden to no master but gently led by goodly Providence – who will make Huck revisit the possibility of Jim’s potential freedom over and over until Jim is finally free. Huck grows in selfhood because of all the unexpected companions he meets along the way – the duke, the king, and Tom – who serve as foils for him to learn from and not model himself after. Huck also grows because of his unexpected friendship with Jim, and because Jim’s radical freedom matters ultimately and Huck’s level of belief and commitment to that must deepen to that fundamental level:
from a rules-based assent –> to an intellectual grasp of the logic –> to understanding the tensions in that and the contradictions therein –> to letting that open up other possibilities –> to letting that matter deeply –> to letting that matter ultimately.
But to be honest, even towards the end, Huck has not yet fully arrived. He lets Tom have his way with his need for a dramatic rescue with loads of shenanigans, almost until the last page, and the truth only comes out about the whole affair after Tom wakes up and explains everything. But on the very last page, Huck’s story finally gets closure and the truth, even about his father, ultimately comes to light.
My response papers have tracked the progress of my thinking and reflection over the course of this semester. I’m profoundly grateful for the way that I have had to pause mid-week and explain why I’m thinking the way I am, and to prepare for the action I will take as a result.
Here’s where I am:
From a rules-based assent (that formal Christian ministry is not the only way to live authentically for Christ)
–> to an intellectual grasp of the logic (that I may be in fact called to carry my formal training in ministry into the broader world for its service)
–> to understanding the tensions in that and the contradictions therein (recognizing this may require a time of transition and not be an easy route forward)
–> to letting that open up other possibilities (finishing a different seminary degree than I had planned, perhaps elsewhere than I had imagined!)
–> to letting that matter deeply (giving these questions precedence and priority over other important parts of my life)
–> to letting that matter ultimately (here is where I am now! And will be for some time!).
So, I’m not sure where I’m exactly headed, but I’m going to trust God’s providence, the river he created that I’m floating down, and even the crazy characters I meet along the way to lend clarity and insight and direction. I can’t predict where this river will turn or which city we’ll dock at (Boston, DC, Denver, Vancouver?)– but I am eager to have agency and voice as I choose to the best that I can, what I will do in that time.
March 23, 2011