“Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do.” William Ellery Channing, Unitarian Minister 1780-1842.
I used to think about divine purpose much like I do original sin, as in nope! No way. But then I became a youth-group advisor and as I got to know the teens they all seemed so bursting with courageous creativity, and not only lovable but also so interesting that at some point I pretty much thought of each of them ‘Wow! This kid has so much unique self, I can’t wait to see where it leads them.’
Then the obvious dawned on me… wait! Why would these teens be different than any of us? (and what the heck happens to us anyway?). Which isn’t to romanticize youth, or bemoan pressures to conform – but more my growing curiosity about that unique spark in all of us; young, old, you, me, everybody.
I also used to think of church, even my UU church, as where I went to learn how to be a better person generally – a path that if I could just learn the way of (and the discipline to stay on!) I’d be good. I do still get stuck in lines… the blueprints of reason’s philosophies perhaps, rather than the black and white boundaries of literal belief, but still. Lines.
Little by little though I’m understanding spiritual growth as living closer to my own, unique, best self. A more creative process, than seeking the right map. Like all creative endeavors (from the co-creating covenantal community! to writing Chanticleer blurbs…) there are techniques and practices that help, role models to learn from, and tons of preparing the ground for a possibility. But at some level one does just have to – kiss it up to faith. Hold the unknowable. Wait and see.
Trust the process, the seed, the mysterious spark within – to do its work. Let that which wants to emerge – emerge.