What makes you feel alive?
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
~ Isaiah 43:19
Howard Thurman is quoted as saying, "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
One of the most radical demands for you and I is the discovery that as Ecclesiastical people we live our lives as seasons, or as passages that create our life narratives. When we are born, we begin our journey, discovering our family, developing our habits, and encountering experiences that will then serve as the foundation for our future self.
One thing we discover quickly about life and living is that there is no such thing as "going back."
We grow up, leave our families and move to a larger community of people where our lives are forever larger and more expansive. Each day we are challenged to be something the world wants us to be, while God still hopes that we discover the gifts we have been given, and our purpose living as brothers and sisters within God's creation.
Over the weekend I traveled back to Texas after spending just over a week with family and friends, and arriving home with a car full of items from my parents' home in Indiana. Many of the things I brought back were placed in storage after my stepmother died seventeen years ago. Last night I took the time to begin going through boxes with photos. Among the pictures were the faces of family members who are no longer with us, but also, the early pictures of my daughter, Emily, and her first birthday.
As I looked at them, I was reminded of how different our lives were then, and then turned to realize the woman that she is today. This morning as she walked out the door to head to the office where she helps to care for persons suffering from addictions, I felt many things. I remembered many of the dreams that I had for her, and how I had hoped to protect her from so many things of the world, but yet, God has blessed her with gifts I never knew she would have. She is living her life in a way that it is bringing life to others.
For some, watching their children grow up and move out on their own, somehow makes their life less meaningful. I am simply reminded that for each of us our lives continue to change. Each day I encounter folks who are at the end of their journey, and I am reminded that at some point we all will encounter daily "new normals," as we age and come closer to the end of our life.
Whether we realize it or not, we are always passing from one phase to the next, gaining and losing someone, some place, something.
As Thurman reminds us, we are to discover the things that make us "alive." I have always found that finding ways to unconditionally love, recognize the sacred among one another, and a desire to ask God first, seem to help me remain focused on being my best self, for myself, and others. These things also what that make me, "feel alive."
While losses remind us that life is not always perfect, we cannot let them disillusion us from knowing that each day is an opportunity. The question is how do we choose it as a passage, and live our life more fully each day, rather than as a loss that we will never move beyond?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.