| Anne Williamson |

Whatever word to which you're drawn - vocation, purpose, meaning, work, calling, etc. - most of us believe its creation is at least a joint one. That is, our life is not wholly predetermined. If this is the case, then, how do we, as our vocation's joint, if not sole, creators, discern what to create?

There appears to be a common theme in the collective thinking around vocational discernment: it's a dance between being and doing, letting go and pursuing, listening and to borrow Martin's words in last week's reading, "[putting one's] butt in the chair." It doesn't matter whether we believe the inspiration is g/God's, our own, or some combination of the two; the dance is the same....

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Do this, and you will live. Jesus spoke these words in The Story of the Good Samaritan. It comes after the lawyer, "to test" him, asks, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" We are told upon Jesus' prompting, the lawyer offers an answer to his own question: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus tells him he has given the right answer, and then adds, "Do this, and you will live." 

It's an ambiguous response. Given the context, we might assume Jesus meant the lawyer would have eternal life. And yet, in Jesus' final response - after he tells the Good Samaritan story - he says, "Go and do likewise," cutting offer any reference to life after death. 

Is it possible Jesus, once again, hoped to shift perspectives? Just as a neighbor, through the story, becomes not who we serve but who we are, "life" is not some eternal destination, but here, now, today. We live not by multiplying our number of breaths but by multiplying, opening, this moment through love. Of course, we may want more literal breaths - especially for our loved ones - but it's not really the life in and of itself we want, it's the living.

It's the love. The love of this world's pulse; Jesus called it God, call it whatever you like: the music, spring air, her laughter, his warmth, that "Oh, my God" view, taste, smell, touch. This is the love we receive - as gift, grace, ordinary miracle. Living is also the love you give - increasingly, better, braver. It's being open to and moving into the spaces you are uniquely called to love - at home and along the roadside, for the sake of your friends and the bruised and beaten stranger, world.

It's up to you. No one will force your hand. But, do this, and you will not just have life, you will live.  

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Robin Williams has died. Like me, you probably didn't know him personally. Consequently, my grief, our grief, if that's what it is, moves a bit strangely: real but detached; from empathy for him and his family and close friends to reminiscing on acting roles.

What are your Robin Williams memories? I remember, as a kid one summer, the Good Morning, Vietnam soundtrack, including Williams' comedic monologues, played almost nonstop in my dad's car. Then, there came Hook, the genie in Aladdin's bottle and Mrs. Doubtfire. On my first date with my husband we saw The Birdcage, and the first time I thought I loved him came after watching Jumanji - odd, I know.  And, of course, there's Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams and others.

My favorite Williams' movie, though, is Dead Poets Society.  Being only 8 when it was released, I discovered it years later. I loved it; it was serious and sad, but also funny, inspiring and hopeful. It was life. I've shared one of my favorite scenes below. For me, then and now, this scene speaks to vocation - a spiritual word meaning what you are here to do, where you are uniquely called to love the world. Though grammatically I must put a period after its definition, for most of us, really, it needs a question mark. That is, we don't yet know what we're here to do, where we're called to love. And, even if we do, it's ever-evolving and hard, requiring faith and courage. This topic, among others, will be explored this fall in WAYgroups around Indianapolis; if you're interested, let me know. For now, though, let's LISTEN to and LEARN from Wiliams' words and begin to LOVE together. 

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