I am struck by this concept of journey. Our lives are journeys … you can’t take the by-pass … you have to go through. I think of physical journeys … varying speed limits, stoplights, highways, small towns, big cities … the journey experience entertains wide varieties of scenery, provokes conversation about the way … it is interrupted with flat tires, hunger, thirst, lack of direction, heavy traffic and more. And so the journey we call life … why are we then surprised when it’s messy?
Parker Palmer writes about five monsters we face on our journeys through life:
1. Insecurity about identity and worth … denying the God-given value inherent in each of us
2. Belief that the universe is a battleground and yes, scripturally there are descriptions of battles to be fought … BUT … Christ said, It is finished. He holds the keys!
3. Functional atheism … or believing that the responsibility for everything rests with us … each of us has responsibility but we are in community with God … we must trust some of the load to be carried by others
4. Fear of the natural chaos of life … this one resonates with me … I am challenged daily to eliminate chaos … the educator in me says there must be procedure, process, rules … no surprises … but chaos is the foundation for creativity!
5. Denial of death … evident when we keep trying to resuscitate programs and projects that have died … beating the proverbial dead horse … but death can create the conditions under which new life can grow.
Do you recognize any of these ‘monsters?’ Why not share the monsters that beseige you with friends … and commit to tackling those monsters with each other’s help?!?
It’s interesting to me that on the same day I read these words from Parker Palmer, I also read this quote from an essay about May Sarton … where she says, “Life must flow through you at every moment and through every day. You’re really a receptacle, an instrument for life to flow through and if you keep stomping it with over-control, it’s not good, whether you’re a creator, or not.”
We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. ~ Ephesians 4:16 Peterson’s paraphrase