| Anne Williamson |
There are a number of “churchy” words people don’t like. I took an informal survey and heard: devil, saved, psalm, believer, hell, sin, lost, and my favorite response, “I’ll email you my [presumably long] list. [wink, wink].” Sometimes we simply don’t like how a word sounds. (I’m assuming this is the case with “psalm”; “pew” would be my vote.) More often, we dislike what a word means, how it has been used. This is certainly the case with my least favorite “churchy” word: blessed. Despite often spoken with good intention, it always evokes in me a thoroughly “icky” feeling.
For me, “blessed” is the theological coin flip to “everything happens for a reason.” Life going well: “I am blessed.” Life going not so well: “I am… not… blessed?” “No no, God has a plan; we just don’t always ‘get it.’” All phrases that, somehow, claim too much control over one’s life and not enough at the same time.
Lately, though, as I flounder through the unpredictability (translate “infant”) and volume (translate “toddler”) of my life, I’ve been thinking about the word “blessed” differently. What if it’s not a descriptor bestowed on me from some outside force, a divine stamp of approval; but, rather, a descriptor I claim for myself, a filter I choose. In the midst of the messiness, I say, I see “blessedness.”
When you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, young children are the ultimate teachers. I feel their hearts (or see their messes) tapping on mine and whispering… Stop needing life to look a particular way to get centered. Stop grasping at control in search of peace. Look around and claim the blessedness of life as it is.
This is not about denying what’s hard or wrong – in our own lives or the world. It’s about learning to stand inside what is g/Good so we have the energy and presence of mind to stand against what is not. It’s about choosing peace, seeing blessedness, whenever possible, so that this is the deep well from which we draw when tragedy strikes or, more commonly, our patience or compassion are simply drained.
This is the journey into which I invite you in WAYfinding this year. We’re going to take our lives, our selves, our personalities, as they actually are and learn to live inside the g/Good, to find the sacred blessedness. We’ll begin this fall by studying a model of human personality called the Enneagram. More details to be offered in the coming weeks, but at its most basic level, the Enneagram is about self-knowledge. To grow spiritually we must be willing to see ourselves fully – all our light and shadows. Then, in the winter round we’ll explore the theology of our music… Why do different genres speak to different people and cultures? What does our music say about what we believe, where we struggle, what we hope in and love? Finally, in the spring, we’ll journey into the twelve steps of spirituality, embracing the idea that we are all addicted in some way. We all need healing and wholeness, whether we understand g/God to be part of the recovery equation or not.
I hope you’ll join me, and many others, on the journey this year. To quote a fellow WAYfinder, Sean Copeland, “The best thing about WAYfinding is the people.” I could not agree more. In the coming months, we’ll be introduced to a lot of wonderful ideas and practices; but, it’s the thoughtful people, holding many different beliefs, discussing these ideas, engaging these practices of growth, that make WAYfinding the meaningful experience it is. I hope you’ll come check it out and add your voice.
The fall round will begin the week of September 12. Stay tuned for Sample WAYfinding Nights, group location and time offerings, etc. In the meantime, if you’re curious or interested, feel free to email me directly.
Photo by Jeremy Smith, Creative Commons