Yesterday a new acquaintance asked me, “Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing right now?” I was eating a salad at Panera Bread when I thought I should be eating a treat from the bakery, so I replied honestly.
“Not at this moment, I’m not.”
Yes, I turn to sarcasm when I’m confronted with an uncomfortable truth. It was a great question, and she had targeted a source of angst within the first five minutes of discussion.
I have been doing some Job-like wrestling with that question.
Apparently, finding a purpose is easy for many . . .
I hear stories about how people who are grinding away at work when they realize that their true passion is crocheting pot holders, so they start a business manufacturing the oven mitts while giving away a matching gift for each sold to a third-world country, and a company is born. Investors clamor for their attention, and they attract everything they need.
The only thing I’ve attracted in the past few years are several deer ticks and some extra poundage.
I have had some luck writing, however. But if I keep writing, I need to deal with the struggle between the sermon and the self.
Preacher’s kids are great editors . . .
As a preacher’s kid, I know the right things to say. Believe me, when you have a church family watching your every move, you learn to edit your remarks before making them.
I remember the day my dad cursed from the pulpit because he got carried away telling a funny story about my mom’s dinner rolls.
“And she looked in the oven,” he said, flying on the wings of surprising laughter from the near-dead Sunday morning congregation, “and the rolls were growing. They were damn near coming out of the oven!”
Silence. The resurrected returned to their graves, and mom shook her head and tried to conceal her laughter.
It took months to get over the comments from “concerned” congregational members who were, by the way, the same people “concerned” by my tight pants and my brothers “Drummers do it in rhythm” T-shirt. Granted, he took the offering in that shirt, but the glittering letters were still cool
So as a preacher’s kid, how do I write without editing?
I re-read Anne Lamott, and she provided direction. I love how she discusses her strengths and her flaws in such a forthright way. That woman just throws it all out there and lets the reader handle it.
I think I’m going to have to do the same, because I’m not sure that I’ll absolutely discover what I’m supposed to be doing here until I start being unapologetically ME. Not the preacher’s kid, or the change consultant, or the mom, but Me. The woman who threw a pie in her high school teachers’ face and tore ligaments in her knee while three-wheeling through the woods and made-out with her boyfriend in the balcony of the church (perhaps those concerned congregational members had a point).
The same woman who curses like a sailor in traffic and talks to the birds and believes in the strength of others.
It’s me. And if I’m going to help energize others, I have to accept myself first.
Flaws and cursing and all.