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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Manifesting Destiny

I like this blog because even when I try to run from what's happening in my life, I find that I can chronicle events here.  Months or even years later, if they make no sense at the time of the writing, time continues to tick away and the words become either crystal clear or mildly embarrassing.  It's a virtual show and tell of living.  I don't write these pieces in Word format and then reproduce them here.  I write them here.  This is perhaps not a wise choice for edits; and perhaps haphazard in design or intent (and content).  It is, however, direct from my brain and heart to yours.

This morning I finished my reading assignment and I'm going to ask the Universe to send me another.  What's next?  I picked up the "Williams James: Selected Writings" I've had getting dusty on my bookshelf this morning and thought, "Wow, that's long."  It was like my feeble attempts at reading Paul Tillich.  I find that I must be a pop-theology student.  Tillich left me dry and Oswald Chambers made me want to run for cover.  Perhaps I need to try again.

I walked into the library on July 17th, seven days after I left my last job. I  seek coincidence.  If coincidence were a religious practice I would embrace it and practice it like communion.  Or, perhaps I would be a coincidence agnostic; because I believe there is a supreme Reason and not any real coincidences at all.  When I walked into the library on July 17th I made a b-line for the bookshelf directly in front of the door.  There was a large group of children seated at the feet of a wizard who was talking in a very bad falsetto.  The library was not quiet.  When I hit the depression, I avoid people like the plague.  So, I settled on the first book I reached for and went to the back of the non-fiction section to check out the placement of "The Truth About Whales."  This is kind of like Googling myself, I know.  It's an obsession.  I have those, too.

The book I came away with was, "Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine" by Eric Weiner. I mentioned one of the passages in my last entry.  I walked away mumbling that I went to the library for escape reading, not insightful reading.  Damned squawking Merlin person.  The next morning I got up, took Sarah to the bus and went to a local Timmie's to read.  The book was better than Tillich or Chambers ever have been for me.

When people talk about the "calling" to ministry, I wanted to be a minister when I was in my early teens.  There was a youth pastor named Ed Potts and his sermon that caught me was on Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin.  I wanted to be him.  Ed Potts, not Harry Chapin.  I wanted to stand in front of a congregation and reduce them to tears.  To make people feel something...to have them search inside themselves, to have them be honest with one another.  I spent the next ten years trying to show God how bad a choice I would be for that particular position.  So, my first response to the calling was probably pretty typical -- "I'm not good enough to be that."

My second response to the calling has been life long.  I don't have a religion that fits.  With the exception of Unitarian Universalism -- I have yet to find a church that believes in what I believe.  This is why Weiner's book spoke to me.  He finds himself in the hospital and a nurse (placed coincidentally, I'm sure) asks him, "Have you found your God yet?"  Sitting in Bell Park with the book on my lap I knew exactly Who sent me to the library that day.

My mother-in-law, Barb, challenged me this past Friday to write down exactly what it is that I want to be when I grow up.  She said that I needed to manifest my desire in writing (keeping out negative statements like "but" or "I can't"), and that trying it writing with the hand that I don't normally use might help.  Well, my handwriting is unintelligible with the hand my brain chooses to use, so I imagine that the result of my right hand would not even be readable.  I'm lazy, I'll type it.

1.  I want to help people; specifically, heal them in some way.
2.  I relate very well to women; or at least they are the ones who actually respond to my writing.
3.  I want to be an instrument of God's peace.
4.  I want to work either in a prison or a hospital setting.
5.  I will do paperwork because I'm good at it, at the organization of it. 
6.  I'll be happy to write/type or create reports.
7.  I love to do research.
8.  I have experienced the feeling of making a difference in someone's life and I want to experience that again, in a positive way.
9.  I want to be remembered.
10.  I want my husband and my daughters to know that their investment in my education and professional career was a good choice.

Okay, so I'm going to wrap this up with Eric Weiner's words because he and Barb conspired to form this blog entry:

"God is not a set of missing car keys or an exit on the New Jersey Turnpike.  He is not a destination.  He's as close as our jugular, as the Muslims say.  In that sense, all spiritual searches are round-trip journeys.  We travel in order to discover that there is nowhere to go.  We turn, like a dervish, returning to the same spot where we started.  The spot is the same but we are not."



  1. Great post SueAnn, and thank you for the info about that book. You are a minister already... I can see you in that role. Please check out the Universal Utilitarian Church - see what their opportunities are? For any jobs, might be an environment you like? Love the post and love you. You are going the right way and doing the right things, I think. And making huge progress xo Beverley (don't ask - can't seem to log in otherwise)

    1. Thanks Bev! There's a post about a 23-year road trip on my FB...was thinking about you and Chris. I can't wait to read your next post :) I'm having fun waiting with you and you haven't been still a moment.