Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Life Parable: A Call To Action + A Search for Purpose


What does it mean when faith meets action?  And how does the contemplative dimension play a role?

This week has been one of those rough weeks.  Those ones where you question everything you believe so passionately in calm and easy times–some of us have these days every so often and others battle with the “bad days” more often.  Regardless of what your personal experience, when these times happen we are provoked to say “screw it”.  And some times God just asks of us: breathe, let go, and listen.  This is the contemplative pause, the time of reflection God asks of us when we get caught up in those moments of life’s storms.  It is easy to get caught up in the storm and God asks us to pause and breathe and leave silence for his voice–the voice that can bring us back to a place of purpose and ACTION.

So, I was in my grumps last night–a moment of “so what? what’s the point.”  It happens to us all.  I tried to get perspective and get silence, but a little bit I just wanted to give up.  I could hear God, distant from the self-serving motivations that were at the forefront of my mind, telling me to pause, breath, just wait…and I would get the point.


I went to work today, even though I would have preferred to stay home and wallow in grumpiness.  My first client came in and I hadn’t seen them for a week.  They were low, in their own darkness, suicidal and telling me they were done with life saying, “Who cares? Why does it matter? Why do I matter? I give up.  I’m done.”  The irony of the person set in my path was not lost.  They left my office suddenly, refusing to get help, but I knew if I didn’t do something I would not see them again.  I was able to track them down with the assistance of other agencies and they were found with a weapon and intention to kill themselves.  They were taken to a local medical facility and are, thank God, still alive tonight.  I asked God “what is the point?” and he sent me a reason why it all mattered.  I realized that if I had not been there today, this client would not be here tomorrow.  So, for whatever that’s worth–it all matters.

We all matter.  The space we leave for God today, in silence and in contemplation, leaves room for him to use us tomorrow in ways we can not yet imagine.  Whenever I forget this he gives me a sign — sometimes a big one.  I gave this example not to disclose a client’s information (any relevant identifying information has been omitted from this story) but to give a “life parable” for how God uses us, if we are open and a receptor, if we listen, and even sometimes when we stubbornly try to ignore his call.

We see other people that God uses in the world– a Richard Rohr, or a Thomas Keating, a Shane Claiborne, a Brian McLaren, a Mother Teresa, a Gandhi, or others.   I realize their ways are not always everyone’s method or comfort zone–many are not mine.  It is not a one size fits all path.  It is a tailor made path of walking with God, leaving space for his voice in our mind, and his work in our life. This is how contemplation and action forms the path of “us” and the “god dwelling in us, as us”.  We all fall down, we all have bad days, we all have days or weeks when it is harder to hear the God in us and when we just don’t want to bother.  His call is always there and it is always up to our choice to follow.  It is our option to get up, go to work (or wherever), and follow his call–or not.  We never know what role we are meant to play that day in our life, or someone else’s.

This story is just meant as one of my own life parable and an example of a lesson and sense of meaning that God set in my path.  Maybe you can just conceptualize the life parables he might be setting in front of you–today, tomorrow, or next week?

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