Looking back to that July conversation, I can identify three visions WB planted in me. He spoke imaginative words into my totalism (WB’s word for “everything we have ever experienced and know…the total of both our reality and imagination.”). It took these words to disrupt my totalism. To crack open a window of new possibility. These three visions have given me a new imagination for life…for living out a faithful calling.
I wrote about the first new vision yesterday. But every day I must remind myself “I am a target of grace.” For when I can fully imagine myself as such, I begin to accept my belovedness (said with Nouwen in mind). Today, I am resting in the new reality that I am enough…enough for God to choose to love.
The second new vision came as we were discussing WB’s question to me of “If you lacked no courage, what would a Shalom-kind-of-life look like for you and your family?” We talked about both the practical everyday-practices important to such a life and the wishful dreams of what could be…
And then, in the midst of this conversation I asked “What does it even mean to be a pastor today.”
I’ll never forget the humor on his face as he sat back and laughed. Revealed in his reaction was an awareness of the challenges and changes within church life and the often-hijacked narrative of pastoring. “Who knows!?” he leaned forward and blurted out…but then after a moment of thoughtful reflection he sat back again and pondered aloud, “I guess the only thing we have left is to live as a non-anxious presence.”
To live as a non-anxious presence. Those are revolutionary words. Words of resistance. Words that rocked my totalism of what was and is. So much of my own life has been built on anxiousness. In pastoring. In parenting. In my own personhood. To see faithful living as a non-anxious life requires a shift of narrative.
I confess that I have often given my imagination over to anxiousness. I have often created patterns of anxiousness upon anxiousness.
But I am learning how to live a different kind of life. A life of non-anxious presence. A life not given to the games of culture: competition, celebrity, and consumerism. A life not overlorded by debt, doubt and fear.
Today I remind myself again…I will seek to live as a non-anxious presence.
The third vision will be “revealed” tomorrow. If I can find the words…