Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why am I doing this? (or, Why I am doing this.)

It's a very interesting distinction between 'why am I' and 'why I am.'  One is a question to the self by the self, and the other is a response to the self being questioned by someone else.  Strangely, it is in responding to the question that I not only ask it of myself, but learn the answer almost in tandem with my questioner.  It is in answering that I often best hear myself.  It is the act of articulating those loose, generalized thought packages into digestible answers that I often catch myself saying things I didn't realize I was thinking, but that my behavior had suggested all along.  I answer because I, too, want to know the answer.

And in this instance I will ask it of myself, because I really want to know.  Why am I doing this?

I tell people what I believe to be the truth:  First, I want this education.  I have been fascinated by this subject matter all my life and I want to keep learning.  I want to participate in discussion and debate about my ideas without tiring people out who have little interest in what I'm thinking.  I want to hear other peoples' ideas and find the ways in which we are all telling the same story.

Second, I long ago gave myself to a life of service.  I don't even know specifically when it happened.  But as I look back on the past 14 years of attempting to "do well by doing good" in my community and my career, I realized that I had given it in stages without realizing.  There is no other path for me than a life of service. 


I think the moment I realized every path I've ever walked in my life has led me to this trajectory, would be the moment I understood why I have all these different interests in the first place.  They are meant to serve together.  Several years ago I remember thinking that on some level I felt my life was galvanizing together; that the separate trajectories of all my major interests and skill-sets (like religion/spirituality, stained glass, music, carpentry, community building, travel, uncovery, etc.) were going to be useful when combined one day.  I just didn't yet know how (or even know that I would want) to combine them.  

On March 16 of this year it occurred to me for the first time that I could be a reverend while retaining my natural irreverency; I didn't have to give up my dreams of being a rock star with a colorful vocabulary who loves to belch simply because I also want to be a minister.  That moment in my minivan that day was a powerful realization, but it was only a micro-epiphany about what to do next. I needed to go to seminary.  But it was not the moment when it all came together in my understanding about how and why they could all fit together in the same person.  How all these disparate parts of myself could exist in the same 21 letters: reverendwildarcangelo. How exactly does one tame a "wild archangel"?  One doesn't.  


I need to accept the previously unacceptable: It's okay for me to be different.  It's okay for me to be a little dangerous.  I need to be able to fit in the places of the world where most people don't want to go or know what to say when they get there.  I needed to know what it's like to be lonely and sick and redeemed.  I needed to know.  I needed to learn that forgiveness of self is the hardest part.  I won't say I have accomplished that one yet, but it is on my bucket list. ;-)


By the way, that magical moment when I finally realized it was all supposed to work together occurred right where you see the *asterisk above.  I had hoped I would learn the answer in the answering.  And so I did.

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