Eyes twinkled like the stars above as we watched curses go up in flames. Curses that had leaked venom into our lives, lying to us that we weren’t enough, that we had enough, that we were unseen, that we had to stay seen. And as the papers crumpled beneath the crackling logs, voices around the circle began to speak blessings into being. We have victory. We will never be forsaken. We will live into the dream. We are freedom.
Earlier this month I had the immense gift of meeting bright young individuals at FTE’s Regional Discernment Retreat in Minnesota. For three days we indulged our curious spirits (and hearty appetites), exploring our questions and questioning our assumptions. And in our exploring and questioning, we found space to dream big.
I had arrived weary. Tired of trite messages about God’s sovereignty, about God. Tired from fears of rejection, of misjudgment, of criticism. Tired of the Church. All I had was a little flame inside that gasped for oxygen. And I prayed, God, fuel that flame.
God heard me all right. I watched with wonder as hope creeped in, dusting the cynicism off my heart and mind. People celebrating God through song, dance, and poetry. People praying like they meant it. People listening. It was the first time in a long time that I could share how the world broke my heart without it dismissed as too sad or too depressing. And it was the first time I was asked, What would it look like if that which breaks my heart was magnificently solved? (Thank you, Rev. Alexia Salvatierra.)
Too often, life feels like an endless round of Whac-A-Mole. Syria is a mess; call out al-Assad. East Africa is suffering famine, again; send emergency food aid. The planet is heating up; bash climate deniers and shop with tote bags. These are over-simplifications, of course, but it can be so easy for us who have more privilege to let “compassion fatigue” stifle our imagination – each of us standing there with our own hammer instead of coming together to create a brand new game.
A game where everyone gets to play, where justice and mercy rule, where swords are beat into plowshares.
So where does vocation fit into all this? I’m on the road to finding it – and according to Dr. Parker Palmer, who crashed our party like a boss, I’ll probably be on this road for a while. In a way vocation is already finding me. It finds me when I make music. It finds me when I weep for the world that breaks my heart. It finds me when I envision weapons of destruction turning into tools of cultivation.
And the best part about all of this is that I’m rolling with a crew. We’ve packed our bags with blessings, and together we’re moving forward.