midweek musing: an exploration of purpose

Purpose as the point at which that which I love, that which the world needs, that which I am good at, and that for which I can receive a living meet. This is an interesting picture.

I don't tend to use 'vocation' in these terms, as something for which I can be paid: vocation is, for me, my calling, my way of life, and that is rarely income-producing.

The time I am spending in Scotland could still be understood in terms of this picture, as a working out of purpose.

What I love is story and poetry, is humans, is God. 
I love story and poetry: they show me who I am, who we are, they have led me into fulness of being.
I love humans, flawed and beautiful, and I am committed to living by the truth I have discovered, that each human is not fully human without other humans.
I love God. Always have. Breath I breathe, story I live, the hope I needed when all hope had gone.

What the world needs is story and poetry, is each other, is Sacred Love. 
We need story to show us who we are, to move us from fear towards love. We need poetry – we need the arts – to enrich us, to help us to wonder, delight, hope, lament. We need Sacred Love, the source of love and life, however we name it, there is a yearning for the Other that whispers and shouts through all creation.

What I am good at is story and poetry, is affirming and connecting with humans, is inviting us into spaces in which we might encounter the Divine. 
This is my passion. It is where I would spend all my time if I could, in the crafting and telling of stories, the composing and sharing of poems, the equipping and encouraging of other's stories, for our shared wholeness and wellbeing. I preside well in gathered communities, hold those gathered safely for the vulnerability we must embrace if we are to deeply encounter each other and the Sacred for healing transformation.

Ah. What I can be paid for.
Here is the catch. This is always the catch. I can be paid for telling stories; I can be paid for facilitating workshops in which other humans can uncover, nurture and share their stories, and thus move towards healed wholeness; I can be paid for poetry - hey, it's happened, I got a royalty check this year; I can be paid for presiding in, caring for, teaching and guiding, equipping and affirming communities living according to Christian spirituality.

Am I?


I came to Scotland because this land of my ancestors is a land that has produced bards, storytellers, poets, priestly folk. It has produced these folk and it has sustained them. I am here to discover, I hope, a way in which I might live my vocation as that which the world needs and which the world will receive from me with offers of sustenance and nurture in mutual health and wellbeing.

Although I am making progress, finding some some sense of purpose here in Scotland, overall I haven't found it – 'it' being the coming together of what I have to give, what the world needs, what I am good at, and a living – yet. It feels like there is much too much emphasis on product in our society in our time, on getting something for your money. Even ministers in congregations across countries and denominations are not confident of a living because congregations don't know how to make it happen now that participation and giving have so drastically changed. How do we provide a living for the artists, the ones who don't produce a product that sells, but work that inspires, delights, challenges, enriches our life? How do we provide a living for the priestly ones, the presiding ones, who gather us in for encounter with the Sacred and sacred stories and community?

A year into this exploration, I don't feel like I have any suggestions yet.

Do you have any ideas?


Heather Lee said…
I wish that I could think of a good "How". I can think of a step: valuing such artistic pursuits and encouraging others also to value it.

Popular posts from this blog

a message to my friends

Story Eucharist