Monday, January 28, 2008

Where I am. Where am I going?

Well, here we in 2008! What a time! It has been a long time since I just sat and typed a post. Writing personally, I am in a funny place right now, a very restless place, which, I suppose, is typical for men in their early 40s. Most of us are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up, what we want to do, to flirt with adolescent nonsense. Fortunately, I have my experience. It is my experience that tends to keep my expectations in line. Family, work, ministry, study at work, study for graduate school, etc. Last week I made the dire mistake of reading a book on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. My dear Francesco makes me want to leave it all and follow Christ, beg for food, take what the Lord gives, relying only on Him. It was bittersweet for me to see several Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at NYU a week ago Sunday. However, I know that I am not called to the life of a mendicant friar. I went a little way down that road, but was led to where I am instead.

Where I am instead; what a way to conceive of a life, my life, which has been so richly blessed! I think of my lovely wife, my four beautiful children, of the privilege of baptizing three precious children yesterday. Who am I that God can accomplish His purpose through me? What's wrong with God that He chooses not just an earthen vessel, but a cracked and chipped one? Once again the refrain of the Phil Keaggy song, When Will I Ever Learn to Live God?, comes to my mind:

"When will I ever learn to live in God,
When will I ever learn?
Cause He gives me everything I need and more,
When will I ever learn?"


I am wallowing in the Am I making any difference? silliness, even as regards blogging. This question, while seemingly humble, is arrogant in the extreme. What matters is to follow Christ. I am quite certain that I have followed Him and He has led me to where I am, shaped and formed who I am. So, it is not where I am instead, but where I am supposed to be, where I want to be. Nonetheless, I want to stop, to rest, maybe even quit and do what I want. But what do I want? I want to follow Christ, without Whom life has no meaning, no real purpose! Put simply, I want Jesus Christ! He always says, in His kind and loving way, His irresistible manner, "Scott, come and you will see". I am coming Lord, please do not walk too fast. Do not let me lose sight of you. If I do I am lost.

This brings to my mind words from another song, Hold Me Jesus, one from the late and greatly missed Ragamuffin, Rich Mullins:

"So, hold me Jesus 'cause I'm shakin' like a leaf/You have been King of my glory/Won't You be my Prince of Peace?

8 comments:

  1. What you write is so familiar to me. ;) We are restless for Jesus. It's a good thing.

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  2. And you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYbUCvz1LYE

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  3. Thank you for posting this. I seem to be in a similar place (change the details, but...). It is so helpful to me to know that it's not just me, alone. I have often noticed these kinds of thoughts after a beautiful experience (for me it was the Diakonia) -- first the fullness, then the knowledge that there is more...It reminds me of what St. Gregory said of Moses (are you familiar with it, or should I search for it for you?). Thanks so much -- I really did need to read this post.

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  4. Thanks, Sharon. Indeed, our restlessness, our recognition of our need, our incompletness, our inability to complete ourselves, our need for Jesus, is a good thing.

    Rebecca: I always have liked the Talking Heads. I know how I got here, it is the where to, which is kind of an irrational worry. As our Lord says: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil" (Matt. 6,34).

    Suzanne: I hadn't thought about it in terms of coming after the Diaconia. That helps. It's not as though it is back to reality after the beautiful experience, the beautiful experience was real, what I experience now is real. I was reading and reflecting on last year's La Thuile meeting this morning and that reality, my circumstance at any moment, is how He comes to me. Being loyal to my circumstance, living today, right now in the awareness of His merciful gaze.

    I am not familiar with what St. Gregory said of Moses. I would appreciate reading it.

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  5. The Ironic CatholicJanuary 29, 2008 at 7:34 PM

    I love this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Restlessness is good. It shows us we aren't there yet, still on the journey. Pay attention, as Annie Dillard would say.

    Suzanne's comment...I'm not exactly sure what she is referring to re: Gregory and Moses, but Gregory of Nyssa wrote a fantastic book called *Life of Moses*. Very allegorical mystical text. Read it!

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  6. Yes, I'm speaking about St. Gregory's Life of Moses -- here is a quote that, for me, sums up the core of St. Gregory's insight into Moses -- which is really the best, most beautiful "problem" anyone could have:

    “[Moses] shone with glory. And although lifted up through such lofty experiences, he is still unsatisfied in his desire for more. He still thirsts for that with which he is filled to capacity, and he asks to attain as if he had never partaken, beseeching God to appear to him, not according to his capacity to partake, but according to God’s true being. Such an experience seems to me to belong to the soul that loves what is beautiful.” (in Life of Moses, by Gregory of Nyssa)

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  7. How can I say no a professor? I'll read it.

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  8. Ha! I think I'll read it too. It's on my shelf but I never got around to it.

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