Morning of orientation for seminary. I have to keep myself focused on why I am here, and what I need to be about while I’m here. If I forget about the work I did with Love, and Thomas Merton, and the bigger Cause that encompasses more than just ministers, I think that I will be doomed. I will get caught up in just another attempt by my ego to find a career that gratifies it.
I need to keep in mind at all times that there will be people who are more gifted and talented than I am, in almost any area imaginable. People who write better, preach better, love others better, sing better, are more active in extracurricular activities–people who are more worthy and deserving of the big scholarships than I will ever be. My purpose here is not to compete with them.
I need to remember that everyone around me will be here for different reasons, and will have arrived from different ways of feeling and believing themselves to be called. Some of them will be so much more filled with Jesus than I ever will be, and some of them will have little or no Jesus inside of them, no matter what it is they outwardly profess.
There is the ever present sense of fear here. The fear that I will suddenly lapse into being the person I was any number of years ago when I arrived at a new workplace or school. It doesn’t get to claim a hold on me like it used to, though. It doesn’t get to be all-encompassing, and shut me down. I have to also keep in mind that I might have unique strengths and experiences that will help me, and hopefully help others. The past eighteen years since leaving college have not been spent in a vacuum, bubble, cave, rock, etc. They have molded and shaped me more than I will ever know.
I have to rely, for strength, upon all that is good inside and outside of me, whether it is the memory of my mother and the sense of a presence of her spirit praying for me, or my little brother, or even consider that the great ones like Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, etc. may also be praying for me to succeed, though I am hardly worthy of such prayers. I am, of course, not worthy to even be here and be alive with my young family. I don’t deserve any of this. I don’t need or want to think about what I should be getting if I were merely getting what I deserve.
I do have what I have by the grace of God, because God is good. And because God is good, His goodness transcends my petty notions of tit-for-tat, of karma, of a universe where there is always an equal and opposite reaction for every action and nothing greater and more powerful can come to fill a space that has been voided of its life force. God is bigger than and above all of our notions of how energy and matter should work, and this especially includes our pure heart Love energy, which we might incorrectly believe to be limited and only capable of filling to a certain amount, and requires a negative and opposite reaction after it is depleted.
God’s energy is infinite and infinitely transcendent inside, outside, above, beyond, below and any other space we might be able to detect with our imperfect senses and imperfect instrumentation (which was devised and built with our imperfect senses). As long as I remember to return to this, and meditate on this, how can I possibly go wrong? It isn’t something that I own or possess any more than I own and possess this solar system–it is there for me and everyone else whom God loves–which turns out to be all living things…