(Prompt ‘The Bridge Poem’ from Teaching with Fire’)
(Notes: Seeing, touching, both sides Sick of filling in all those gaps, Sick of ______, Being useful)
Why is it so important for me to useful? The ever-present demand in my soul to have a purpose compels me to find a way to live. Ever searching, ever wondering…is this enough? I’ll be 50 years old this June and I’m still wondering what I will be when I grow up.
There have been simpler times. Not easy but simple. I chose to be a Mother, I didn’t have any career aspirations or marketable skills I had to abandon to pour myself into that role so for many years ‘Mother’ was at the center of my identity. The only questions surrounding that stage of life had to do with balance. I understood the basic concept of adjusting the mask that drops from the airplane ceiling with oxygen flowing through it on my own face before trying to help anyone around me, so I took care of myself fairly well most of the time. But it was hard to venture out into the area of pleasure. As the children became more self-sufficient and I had more disposable time to decide how to use every day, the struggle grew. Do I do what I think I’m supposed to do or do what I want? Do I even know what I really want? So much of what I think I want stems from that damn compulsion to feel purposeful, to be useful.
Everywhere I turn there are people happy to tell me how I can best be useful to them or to the universe. Part of me wants to have someone answer this question for me and of course part of me wants to be free to decide myself. There’s the rub. I am free, in fact responsible to answer the question. No one else really knows. Those who have true integrity admit they are wrestling with the question for themselves, how could they possibly answer if for me.
Is it possible that what my soul deeply wants is to love? Not so much by being useful, for that so often leads to manipulating or ‘helping’ others do what I think they should do. If all the law and the prophets are wrapped up in Loving God and loving others is there a way to live that out without pressure? By faith I believe my deepest heart, now a heart of flesh not stone…made first in the Image of God but hardened through sin and then remade to be gradually conformed into the Image of Christ. If love is to guide me I’m sure there will be times of usefulness, but if usefulness is the goal it’s possible to live that out without love at all. I should know, I nearly killed my marriage and destroyed my son with that kind of goal.