Too Mutch

...a safe place to dance with ideas, play with theology, and re-create a life implicated by God

Monday, October 02, 2006

In the words of Parker Palmer...



In the words of Parker Palmer, I have found great comfort and encouragement. I have seen the need to turn 'inwards' and 'downwards' at times in order to find freedom, growth, authenticity, life. I have only read one of his books, but will be looking for some of his other writings. I will share here some of the underlined sections from last weeks reading of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. If I'm lucky...maybe more than one post!

Towards the end of the book, Palmer uses the metaphor of the changing of the seasons to look at selfhood and vocation. Under the section of "Autumn" he penned these words that gripped me and I have shared them with several people:

In restrospect, I can see in my own life what I could not see at the time--how the job I lost helped me find work I needed to do, how the "road closed" sign turned me toward terrain I needed to travel, how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know. On the surface, it seemed that life was lessening, but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sown.

He relates this to autumn in the sense that it is the season where seeds are sown as the trees shed their leaves and this part of the world prepares for hibernation during the winter. The Autumn is a necessary part of the journey into the Spring and new life. It is a journey that I hope I am on...

Since losing my job, I have realized that I am being led to work that I need to do...that the "road closed" sign was for my benefit. The problem is that it has been a LONG WINTER. It has been nearly 8 months since I hit the "road closed" sign and the longer this drags on the more difficult it gets. Don't get me wrong--I don't wish that I was back where I was 8 months ago, but winter is getting tiring. I believe that silently and lavishly the seeds of new life are being sown. I just don't know when they are going to bloom.

I'm ready for them to bloom. I can't force it, nor will I. But I can long for it. And I will...

Next time--a quote about "functional atheism."

12 Comments:

At 4:23 PM, Blogger ben said...

That is one of my fav. books. Amazing stuff. Bustrum had us read it (or, should I say, Bustrum had it read US)
for j-term senior seminar.

I gave to Alex, the student I mentored during his high school years. We both found that book to be instrumental in our lives -- me moving to Oregon to do exactly what I was created to do...and it helped him develop a vocational "framework" to guide as he pursues higher ed. and all that stuff...

Anyway. All that to say, great book. I can see how it has been a good read in light of the last 8 months (has it really been that long??)

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous curt said...

"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you." Ps.38:9

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad we get to "winter" together. I'm proud of your faithfulness, patience, and joy in the midst of this.
With love...Your sugar mama

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous natedog said...

This is deep, profound stuff Greg. Thanks for the reference to Palmer.
I think about this kind of stuff when I look at my battle with depression

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Greg said...

good to hear from you n8dog. yep, I bet palmer would be encouraging to those who battle depression. He talks about 2 serious bouts of depression that have shaped him and certainly his writings. I guess that is why it speaks to me right now. Though I don't believe I meet the clinical markers for depression...I certainly am battling to get through this season of life. Hopefully I will fare better than the bosox.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Greg said...

yo ben. yep, definitely a bustrum book--I can see that. Christine has a favorite book on discerning God's will by Jerry Sitser called "The will of God as a way of life." She recommends it to lots of folks, especially students she works with. I think this one is my new favorite book to give to students and the like who are discerning the way forward.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Greg said...

thanks for the disturbing Psalm, Curt. I read the next couple of verses and am trying to figure out what you might be saying to me...

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous curt said...

As a recovering fundamentalist I reserve the right to occasionally take verses out of context. But if we take it all in...the whole of psalm 38...I think one of the things the psalmist is longing for is vindication, for God to stand with him. We know that Jesus calls us to demonstrate this standing beside one another as a working out of the gospel. It is hard to lose a job for whatever reason and believe that the ones that let us go are "for us". Romans says it another way: The hope we hold to is that if God is for us, who can be against us?...just like the psalmist...the whole creation is groaning, and we are inwardly groaning,longing,hoping.
...for redemption...for the first signs of spring, we hope to bring to life that purpose for which we know we were placed here. But the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that cannot be expressed because we know not what we ought to ask for, in the midst of winter, when there is no "sign" of spring. And He who searches our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit who is petitioning on our behalf, which takes us back to the psalmist who proclaims that his God knows his longings and they are never hidden. (v15a) I hope in you Lord...to set things right...to get us through the winter...to keep our hope alive.

 
At 4:11 PM, Anonymous kim said...

hey greg,

thanks for sharing. praying for what is ahead and that it may come soon for you. those times of "not-our-plans" are frustrating. may God bless you in what he is doing in the present

 
At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Greg, I know what you mean. I was unemployed for over a year and a half (I'm hoping it will be much less than that for you!) in an economically depressed area. It was really hard...and I began to realize that I defined myself much more than I realized by what I did for a living, the money I made (or didn't make), etc. Your choice of words (about how it feels like a "lessening") is so appropriate. Here's hoping for a soon-coming spring--

Cara

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg, where did you go?

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

Hey Greg,

It was good to talk to you after chapel. Will and I will be praying for you. I know how hard it is for Will to be in this period of waiting. I can imagine it gets hard for you too. A little encouragement God is going to use you no matter what you are doing because you are willing. We look forward to getting together with you and Christine after the holidays. Have a great time in Colorado if I remember correctly.
Peace brotha!
Heather

 

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