Thursday, November 11, 2010

Strike Anywhere.

Here is my inspiration as I write tonight, a beautiful revelation by Elyse Raby that rightfully stands on it's own:
"I am a theologian.

Not because I know something that the average lay folk doesn’t. Just because I love God and seek to know this all-pervasive God in any way I can. Because the only way for me to make sense of my world – internal and external – is by finding God’s fingerprints in it.

I am alive.

The depths of my heart and soul – my insides – are buzzing and burning and churning, like a pot of water about to reach boiling point. Because of some way that Lisa Cahill spoke about knowing and loving God in community. Because it was real and alive in her, it just seemed natural. It was not a theory, or a revelation, or a proposition. It just was. It is in her.

Theology is in me and God is in me. I know that because I feel it moving. Like an infant leaping in my womb with joy, at the moment the greeting reached my ears. It is energy. It is bubbles rising faster and faster until the water boils over – onto roommates, friends, strangers, photos of sunflowers.

It is a moment of myself speaking to me, saying 'I need to go to grad school.

The best grad school.'

Believing in myself. I can. This is what I do. Not because I am the best at it, but because it is written in my soul, carved into the fibers of my being. Because I am, I exist, within it.

I need to go to grad school, not because there are many things that I should know but don’t, but because this flame needs oxygen. This flame knows it can be a wildfire. I can take down California.

A voice cried out in the desert of my heart. It said, 'this is you.'

It was my voice.

It was God’s voice.

The Holy Spirit, it sets fires.

Call 911.

Tell them not to come."

- Elyse Raby

After that, all I can say is it's funny sometimes how lives coincide...

Tonight was a long night. You know one of those nights when you're tired and can't really focus, even when you really want to? When the person in front of you is the most important person right then and there and you can't seem to connect. The moment passes and you move on, mourning a lost moment, lamenting that intent could not be grasped and try as you may your ears would not listen. You may not be able to listen as much as you should, to hear all that is there, but without knowing it your heart did.

Then something falls into place. Another conversation, the same night, a lackadaisical stupor, making conversation for conversation's sake, humoring cordiality. The joke, though, is on me.

From a smoldering space, sparks fly. Simple questions develop into more. So what did you talk about tonight? Could it be that we don't know how this all turns out? What is it that you don't connect with in teaching? Why then teach on an upper level? Isn't being a professor something more than developing knowledge and researching? There's no way teaching can be an afterthought for a professor, for isn't to be a professor to first and foremost discover and live out the vocation of positing knowledge? Needless to say, as smoke rose from our conversation sparks of intuition, belief, and core truth flew.

Blah, blah, blah, BAM.

Vocation. That's a big word. A big word with lots of meaning on the small scale. It can also be a scary word if all you've ever known of it is huge things. But I love this word. Well, not just the word but the entire notion and concept of vocation. Vocation is that which stirs deep within you; it is who you truly are. No matter what you are doing, if it is truly and genuinely lived out, is vocation. It's a big word but ultimately it is a be all not an end all.

A desired end is not vocation. It is not a dream nor a wish. Vocation is not becoming something; it is the something etched inside of me, the something I am constantly uncovering and discovering anew, it is my very being.

Can it be scary? Yes. That may be why my conversation partner left after that last point... maybe the more important question to ask is "why is it scary?" Fear? perhaps. Or is it more so lack of humility? An inability to recognize who you are and to be that person most honestly and forthrightly.

If you aren't ready to humble yourself to the fact that you may not be able to know it all ( or you may not even fully know or be your true self), then true vocation may be a long time coming. But if you can embrace the freedom of unknowing, the peace of slowly feeling out what God has etched out inside of you, then maybe the deep passion and yearning of vocation will strike anywhere.

God likes to start fires. Maybe the friction of our being is just enough to ignite the match God intends to drop within us. From there, all that needs to be done is to stand back and see how the flames rise.


  1. Thank you Elyse. Thank you Colleen. Your images ignite my soul with their clarity and brilliance!

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