Journey

Everyone is on a journey. A pastor said that this weekend as he drew blue dots on the white board. Everyone is on a journey and that blue dot represents when that journey began and life is the blue, uneven line connecting that squiggly dot to the cross.

MisseoDei-25

I imagine life as a series of those blue dots connected together through time and existence…thought and passion. Each dot seems casually and chaotically leading us into the next point, that point on to the next one. And even when it seems we were the ones in control, or that the dots themselves were haphazardly leading us to no where in particular, from my position in front of the whiteboard I can see a design. It matters little where you are, there is an author writing these points in our lives, leading us towards a cross and a relationship that transforms us. The pastor claimed the dots began with our conversion, but really there were a hundred million points in our lives before, building us up to that one point, the best point of every story: Climax.

I’m excited. It’s one of those lazy type afternoons at the office. I’ve finished all my work and I can enjoy the quiet, thoughtfully, as the calm before the storm begins. I am experiencing a transition of dots, so to speak. I know I am. I watch the clock tick, tick, tick down the seconds, the minutes, and the hours. I have, right now 48 minutes until the next dot. How do I know? I am having a meeting.

In short I am meeting a woman to talk about her experience as a pastor. My hope is that her experience will add to the long history I have with the question of women in leadership. Maybe it won’t be her stance that I enjoy as much as the sense that I am FINALLY making headway and moving forward…moving dots.

Journeys are about movement. Taking steps to grow, to become free of past lies, to transition into other things. Story comes out of the journey and the transition. This particular story is about freedom from old lies, clarity of the truth, and becoming human again.

This is, perhaps, the best of all stories. The one where, as the hero concludes their chapter in time, they are closer to being who they were meant to be all along.

So how about you? What are the dots saying about your story?

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Word of the week: Equivocate

equivocate |iˈkwivəˌkāt|

verb [ no obj. ]

use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself: [ with direct speech ] : “Not that we are aware of,” she equivocated.

DERIVATIVES

equivocator |-ˌkātər|noun,

equivocatory |-kəˌtôrē|adjective

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘use a word in more than one sense’): from late Latin aequivocat- ‘called by the same name,’ from the verb aequivocare, from aequivocus (see equivocal) .

 

Let’s be honest.

Someone who refuses to face the truth or to allow others to see the truth cannot lead effectively. Equivocating is a dangerous game. It entraps you in soft words and ambiguity that allow you to avoid learning the lessons or addressing the problems that you need to address. It is tempting to use it on others or ourselves when a truth we do not like is staring us in the face.

But here is the truth: Playing word games so it doesn’t seem as bad won’t actually make the problem better.

Perhaps it feels better to tell yourself that it wasn’t wholly your fault, or that the problem isn’t as big as it seems or even isn’t a problem at all. Maybe we can sleep better at night after we’ve played word games about what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. Maybe that makes us feel better, but it won’t make the truth better. Equivocating doesn’t change the facts, it just allows us to deny that we have to take responsibility and do something about it. And equivocating won’t protect us from exposing ourselves when we don’t know something but try to act like we do by being ambiguous. (Isn’t that why we like essay exams over multiple choice? You can equivocate and still sound like you know even though you’re pulling it out of your butt)

But when the bible says that the truth sets us free, I think it means that. A simpler and more freeing world awaits the leader who can humble himself to be honest about the problems at hand, evaluate clearly who is responsible for the problem, and admit what he does and doesn’t know.

Standing on Giants

I think too highly of myself. I am a fool in that regard. I know that I am a fool too, which makes it worse. I try not to be so self involved, but it creeps back into my mind and my mouth like it was cold air seeping in between the window panes. And lately I’ve found myself looking over my shoulder and hoping that I would get some reprieve of my own self glorification. I dislike people who puff themselves up, and I dislike myself for it even more. So to fortify my efforts at the honest truth, I start to think about all of the people in my life which have made me who I am and I have begun to realize that I am not my own person. When you look at me you do not see me but you see the thousands of people who have fed into my life and created for me a foundation on which I stand. These people are giants, and as I look over my shoulder, looking for reprieve, I see instead quite clearly–sometimes feeling it for the first time–that I am standing on their shoulders.

 

I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

 

Last semester I sat on a bench outside my Macro Economics class. In the morning before our class began Brian would meet me regularly and we would talk. It didn’t matter what we talked about, it was that we talked and that someone had thoughts more profound and more beautiful than my own. My soul draws to those people. It restores my hope in myself and in the beautiful things of this world. He will never know it, but for a while on Tuesday and Thursday mornings Brian let me stand on his shoulders and see what life was above my fog. And he will never know that for a while on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I could stand on his shoulders and feel a little less like I was drowning or suffocating within the silence of my own thoughts. Though he may never know it, I know it, and it seems to me that when I look back on the road from which I’ve traveled all I can see is a mosaic of people building the path along the way leading me towards the journey which is set before me.

I imagine sometimes that this journey is leading me to reach for the stars. And sometimes I feel that when I stretch really tall I can almost feel the corner of the first star. But other times, times when I’m the most honest with myself I can see that the road of shoulders from which I have come is not a free one. It is one with obligation, one that behooves me to stop attaining my own glory and stand strong for the generation after me to come and stand on my shoulders while they reach. And that is what it means to be a giant, some will reach the stars and others will lift them up to do it. I will one day be a giant, I will stand and pull others up onto my shoulders so they can begin—or continue—the journey which they are purposed to make. And when I am a giant the shoulders of the people beneath me (the people of generations a thousand years past) will be standing in the shape of a cross, strong and unwavering. And their foundation will become my foundation–a calling: ‘Come and be a servant among men, that they might see my Glory’. And this I believe. That I am standing on the shoulders of Giants and that in standing I have seen and will lift up the glory of God.