Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Loving the Path You've Walked

Recently, as part of a Fieldwork workshop series, I was writing and telling stories from my life. Turning 50 has made me want to tell stories about my life.

Now, maybe because this was going on as winter was dragging on and this year I felt a little bluer than usual, this exercise took me down some less than happy trails. I found myself experiencing my own life less than inspirational, more like a cautionary tale.

False starts, abandoned goals, missed (or worse, ignored) opportunities . . . I've got 'em.

And so, somewhat ironically (given the above line), I abandoned this project and turned to something else, which actually pleased me pretty well so all's well that ends well, I guess.

But the fact that writing stories from my life made me a little sadder in my winter blues is troubling for me. Now that the days are longer and I get more sun, I wonder if I could revisit that material and feel differently about it now, and maybe I could and yet it's troubling. I would have rather found that writing about my life might have lifted me from winter blues rather than dragged me down into them even more.

Today is the first anniversary of my pancreas surgery. Or as I sometimes think of it, the day I had my scar installed. Or sometimes simply as "the cutting." That experience, for a few months, anyway, actually did buoy me up. It felt mysterious, mystical even. So much could have gone wrong and almost nothing did (if you get past the having-a-cyst-on-your-pancreas to begin with). I've tended to look on the experience as a positive.

Much more so than the heart disease thing. But that's another story.

I tend to talk a lot about working with God to redeem things that haven't gone the way we want them to. In a way, it's taking the shit that life gives us and turning it into manure for the time we have left.

Well, as a former farm boy, that image works for me.

All of which to say---the path we've walked to get here may not have been everything we'd hoped for. It may have been much worse than that. But in these waning days of lent, it feels like there's more energy to be put into loving all that and, more, getting to work redeeming it. In my heart of hearts, I'm sure God would have our lives redeemed. We just have to stop working against the redemption, work more with it.

And it's seldom easy.

But I'm making plans for Easter . . .

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