Every July as my birthday approaches, I’m goaded by these words of the writer Scott Russell Sanders: “Once there’s food on the table, clothes on one’s back, a roof over one’s head, and once the children are standing on their own feet, the main task remaining is to figure out what it all means.”
Thankfully, all of this has been fulfilled in my life and I’ve been given more than enough time to come up with some answers. But at this late date, I can only say that my conclusions are partial, still in process, and far from being embodied. Like Sanders, I continue to read and write “not because I understand so much but because I understand so little.” After all these years, I’m more of a seeker now than ever.
I refuse to accept the dark conclusion drawn by Shakespeare’s Macbeth that Life is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” – although sometimes that seems to be the case. Instead, I choose Sanders’ assertion that “there is a moral as well as a physical grain in things, and that our chief business is to discover what we can of that pattern and to align ourselves with it.”
As I journey into another year, these are some of the thoughts that want further thinking and that bode action, deed, and alignment:
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
“As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21)
“We have been sent into the world to be living witnesses of God’s unconditional love….In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.” (Henri J. Nouwen)
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” (Albert Schweitzer)
“We are not so important; we are simply dust and spirit – at best loving midwives, participants in a process much larger than we. If we are quiet and listen and feel how things move, perhaps we will be wise enough to put our hands on what waits to be born, and bless it with kindness and care.” (Wayne Muller)
“Do small things with great love – ordinary things with extraordinary love.” (Mother Teresa)
Lord, may the only end in sight be the edge of the light that You continue to give.
John Paul Carter’s “Notes from the Journey” appear in the Democrat on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Carter is an ordained minister who attends Central Christian Church.