Many years ago in a land not too far away there sat two couples in a diner at two a.m. munching on something I am positive was not healthy.
The conversation turned serious for a minute when one young woman wanted to know what we were doing there. “No, I mean, What are we REEEALLY doing here? What is our purpose? ” The other young woman, being me, dug deep for a profound answer that would knock the rest off their seats. We were going to answer that question that has been in circulation for oh… since the beginning of time. One of the guys who sees things just as they are said, “I know exactly why we’re here. Because we’re hungry.”. We all laughed and the subject was changed. Nothing was solved but I would put money on that each of us today could say where and when that 1 minute conversation took place. About 25 years ago. Why do I remember that?
I have pondered that question over the years. Is it really as simple as that? Or is it more complicated than that?
Ahh, the olden days.
Fast forward to this summer. I have been studying some spiritual things in nature. The question has come up again. Especially now that we have our very own first grand baby, Joan Marie.
In my “spiritual things in nature” investigation, I have concluded that this little precious baby in her 2nd day of life is doing it better than I.
We define ourselves by what we do. I am an artist. I am a wife. A mom. An educated woman. A gardener. Sorta. An animal lover. Blah. Blah. Blah. I could go on but I would faint from boredom. I have created this image of myself that I spend my days trying to live up to. Exhausting. I make lists upon lists to make sure the image is upheld. When I go to bed at night I subconsciously check my list to see if I accomplished the tasks needed for the world to believe the self-image that I created for myself.
Isn’t honesty brutal?
My recent discovery is that when I was born, like our precious Joan, I was already everything in God’s eyes. It is a place of utter simplicity. Not adorned or decorated with my created self images. Naked and nothing. Perfectly made and fully created. “It is a place before having done anything wrong or done anything right”, says Richard Rohr. A wonderful author of spiritual things (in nature.)
State of “be”ing. Not a state of “do”ing.
As I move along in life, I don’t want to compare myself with others and their gifts or calls anymore. Richard Rohr also says, “All I can give back to God is what God has given to me – nothing more and no less.” Hmmm. That is so good.
I have a great example that should neatly tie this baby up. My mother-in-law, Jo, who our new baby was named after, use to tell me every summer to make sure to let my kids just BE. Don’t schedule their hours up. And when I think about it now….What she meant is … Let them be who they are. Who they were created to be. Let them use only their little minds to figure out who they are. Let them run through summer being nothing. Naked. Simple. God will show each one of them who they are. And that is all they can give back to Him. Such a miracle.
Oooh. She was right. That Jo, she had more wisdom that I can say. Especially when it came to children.
What I want to say and may be having a time trying is this……I am beautifully, lovingly made. I have a purpose. A simple and wonderful purpose. I was born with it. It is a gift to each of us. I can take the self-made burden off my shoulders. What is to be is already within me. Just let it be and let it flow. Let it ride. No need to contrive. I am not my own invention. Naked.
I want to shout out to my son, Eric, and his beautiful wife and mother to my grandbaby, Emily…. Thank you SOOO much for naming your daughter after that great woman, my mother in law. You have awakened her memory in me and I will think of her every time I look at your daughter. I am so grateful for that. A gift you have no idea.