Some things I have learned #42

Subtitle: Or, at the least, I think I believe

Sub-subtitle: Or, at the most, I believe I know

Whenever I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, sometimes it’s because I started too late to arrive on time. Most of the time, it’s because my “to-do” list is too ambitious, too long.

When that happens, it’s usually because I’m impatient. Not about what, but with whom. Me. That I, just as I am, am not enough. Therefore, I must do more, so to be more. (A long ago implanted, now, lifelong psychological tape runs on a constant conscious reel-to-reel. The message: “Paul, you’re only as good as your last good deed.”)

The remedy to my manic madness of impossibly trying to do more so to be more? Accepting (as a creation of God, delighting in) myself, as an olden hymn sings, “Just as I am, without one plea.”

When that happens, I can enjoy life’s journey without worrying about reaching the destination. I can stand still, appreciating the here-and-now, whilst gazing at the distant horizon; trusting that “there” will be there whenever (or if) I get there.

© 2022 PRA

2 thoughts on “Some things I have learned #42

  1. Oh, Paul. Thank you for this. You are so right-on (a beloved 60’s expression for which I have never found an adequate replacement.) Someone, or a lot of someones, sometime, somewhere, convinced us – you and me and so many other folks – that BEING was not enough; DOING was the stamp of human worth. And not DOING that uses and reflects our BEING, but doing that mirrors back someone else’s idea of what we should be doing. Your “Paul, you are only as good as your last good deed” is my “Karen, you are only as good as your last A on a test or paper… only as good as a spotless house… only as good as smiling and nodding and being pleasant whether you feel like it or not… only as good as your last promotion or significant raise… only as good as happy, quiet, obedient children… only as good as denying what you long to do in order to do what THEY ALL think you should do….” Thank you for permission (at least I hope it’s permission) to say these things.

    “Accepting, DELIGHTING IN myself.” Oh, what a feeling that must be. I come close sometimes. I know I am capable of delighting, satisfying, fulfilling myself, and I also know that the work that does that for me is the very best work, the very best DOING of which I am capable. It is the work that calls on and uses the most bedrock precious gifts God has given me. I do believe that I was given those gifts to use and to serve, to DELIGHT in as a way to help the world reflect God’s Love much more than work I do because of someone else’s cookie-cutter expectations that because I am female, “white,” old, southern, educated, a parent, etc., etc, etc, I must do thus-and-so, because everyone expects me to.

    Paul, “just as you are” is so wonderful, so powerful, so right, so exactly what is needed in this moment. Please don’t deprive us of it. I will try to make the same commitment in 2022. Let’s try to be JUST AS WE ARE all the time. I’m convinced it’s the best route to wherever God has destined us to go in this life. Doing anything else is simply spinning our wheels and wasting what we’ve been so graciously given. And it does the world more harm than good.

    Thanks for prompting me to think about this again. I needed so much to read what you wrote.

    With gratitude for your honesty and for who you ARE…

    and with much love,

    Karen

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    1. Ah, my beloved sister, you are kind to me. And so wondrously encouraging.

      Sometimes when I arrive a place of self-revelation, my usual first impulse is to kick myself, saying, in so many words, “Paul, what took you so bloody long to get here?” Slowly, I am learning to say, “Thank God or whatever powers that be that I have arrived at this place of discernment.”

      And I love your expression of this holy, human mystery (that is, although knowable, not always articulable): “…the work that does that for me is the very best work, the very best DOING of which I am capable. It is the work that calls on and uses the most bedrock precious gifts God has given me. I do believe that I was given those gifts to use and to serve, to DELIGHT in as a way to help the world reflect God’s Love much more than work I do because of someone else’s cookie-cutter expectations…”

      Amen! Thank you!

      And, in this, your, as usual, deeply insightful testimony, I instantly am given to ponder how much of “someone else’s cookie-cutter expectations” of me I have internalized; so that what I, at times, believe that I SHOULD do is indistinct from what others have imposed upon me. I have to think that there is some internal melding of the two. And I think…feel that even if I were to be able to distinguish how much of what has been impressed upon me I, over time, have claimed as my own, I — again, under the heading “just as I am without one plea” — would be called by my “self” to accept my having incorporated the projections of others before I could reject them in the constant, daily quest to be me. Something more to consider.

      I love you, dearest sister. Again, you have my thanks,
      Paul

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