Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Changes and Chances

There is so much life left to live.

There is something hopeful in that. Something optimistic.

Sometimes I feel like I've lived and died and lived and died a thousand lives. I feel like I'm an old wineskin, and yet I'm still here, still being recreated into something newer and incomprehensible to all I've been. It's difficult enough to accept the changes and chances of this life. Without having to keep adjusting your dreams and re-analyzing your situation again and again. And no matter how prepared I feel, sometimes the plainness of life and the complete and utter lack of influence I wield over it can be shocking. I hate to feel powerless.

When the going gets tough, it seems easier to take whatever comes at me and turn it this way and that until it fits into everything that I've already seen and felt and understood. It's much harder to take a new thing and say to myself, "This, this thing...it's a new thing. It's something I've never felt, never known. I can't respond in the typical ways. It's something I don't understand."

It's hard to look at my world with fresh eyes and see it for it's problems and it's beauty. It's hard to ask that of myself every single day.

I guess that's the difference between reacting to life and responding to it. Or to living it.

My roommate has a poster in her room that says something like:

The goal of life is not to find yourself.
The goal is to create yourself.

I know there are better, more spiritual ways to say something like that that don't ruffle our theological feathers. Yet I like what it's getting at. We can't wait for things to come at us and then look back and define our lives according to what we let happen to us. We have to dream and have a vision for our lives, and we have to pursue it with God as the master architect beside us. We cannot let ourselves become just anything, considering our lives were bought with real blood for something very specific and very personal. We're not just statistics.

I've been really touched by some of the gospel stories out of Luke this past week. We can choose who we will be--the throng of people that stood around Jesus listening to his weird parables and watching miraculous things happening--or the leper who came to Jesus from the crowd and said, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." I don't know why those words mean so much to me. But what a thing, to want something different for yourself that bad. And to go get it.

There really is more to life than changes and chances.

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