I posted a funny thing on Facebook last night, a quote from writer Maurice Sendak about sending a note to a boy, one of his fans, who loved the note so much that he ate it. The boys' mother described it like this: "He saw it, he loved it, he ate it."
It made me giggle, of course, but it also made me think about life. About the bigger picture. In this morning's voice memo from my friend, Nick, he mentioned that he's feeling the kind of nudge I felt a while back that led me on the crooked and beautiful sojourn I'm on today. He's having what Iliff School of Theology President, Rev. Dr. Thomas Wolfe described yesterday as a "disruptive" thought.
For the past several months I feel like my life has been a series of disruptive thoughts. It began when I felt restless about the work I was doing and knew it was time to cultivate a life of service. This isn't going to sit comfortably with some of you, but the way I see my life is this: I am here and I have some gifts. They came with the package. I don't think that it was an accident of nature that I arrived into the world on May 19 of 1965 in Grand Forks North Dakota. I think I came here fully loaded with a story that is meant to be revealed to the world during my days here. I believe that the great Light of the World (I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. John 8:12 for those of you who are curious) shines through my gifts, and, like a prism, I am meant to defract that light back out into the world. That's it. That pretty much sums up my philosophy of life. We're each here to do something miraculously tailored to our existence, and if you don't pay attention to that, then life starts to tap you on the shoulder, and if you don't pay attention to the tap, then comes the nudge. And if you're really feigning indifference or mired in fear, then maybe the tap turns into something catastrophic: a divorce, a death, a heart attack...life changers when you no longer have a choice. When you find that something is tugging at your heart, even though it may be shrouded in mystery, the trick is to meet that tug with curiosity. The world wants very much for you to become you and will wait, sometimes for decades, for you to show up. But when the call comes, don't be afraid to move toward it with a ready spirit of inquiry. Bring to that moment a sense of wonder. Try to keep fear from ruining everything.
When I do things like I'm doing right now: traveling to Denver to visit a school and to meet a person I admire, part of me questions every step I take. I came here alone, there was no one holding my hand or getting me on the right shuttle. There is no one here to be in conversation with to confirm that I am doing the right thing. There is only my heart, propelling me forward into some unseen, unknown, unchartered waters, and my absolute, steadfast belief that we are all participants in a larger, sacred story. The other part of me moves through these experiences like a child, giddy with the wonder of it all, just like the little boy who received the note: "He saw it, he loved it, he ate it." He loved it so much that his natural impulse was to physically participate in the moment--to make that note a part of his being.
In that funny little tale is a message for living: look to the things that you love and ingest them. Without hesitation, without fear of the consequences, without concern that people will think you're nuts, without wondering why no one else you know has done such a thing. Eat up, people, the banquet doesn't last forever.