Tonight I was driving home on the 103 highway and I allowed myself to look up and see the amazing sky at 845 pm. There was something awe-inspiring about it but more than that, I was reminded was a small part I play in this drama of Creation. I live in a culture that tells me I need be big in this world, I need to see my role as larger than life, my agency as crucial and for many people who live with low self-esteem there is tendency to look to God and see that relationship as affirming of my own importance to this covenant. Yet strangely the opposite was true tonight, in spite of a long day of living out my discipleship I felt a calm and peace when I knew what small part I play in this cosmos.
I have many good dream. All of my bad dreams are the same, I am driving in my car and soon the things I can control get further and further away. It’s like my steering wheel is causing this large speeding machine to be well past my vision and thus I know that soon it will do damage and I can’t make it stop, let alone avoid potentially dangerous situations. I also worry I am not doing enough, that there is more I can do, I can call so-and-so, write this person, organize this event, and if I don’t the bad result will be squarely my fault.
For many people their great sin is indifference and they must summon the will to be part of the solution, to get involved. For me my fear if not doing enough, being unable to complete the mission. So watching the beauty and stillness of God’s handiwork and my tiny, tiny part in it is reassuring. I realized this is a cosmos made for all of its parts, including me, but not exclusively me, not even close. This universe will keep being what it is, with me or without me. Some may find that realization cold, even unfeeling. I find this understanding makes me appreciate even more the web of relationships God has fashioned. I am in awe and I am grateful for this experience, however long it lasts.
Sometime when I arrive home I am tired after a very long Sunday or services, phone calls, prayers with people in crisis and managing the expectations of people who have high hopes and needs for me. It would be easy to make this all about me and complain about the hours, the needy people, the conflicts, the steep challenges. But after I see the sky and feel the presence of the One who is mystery and love I find no interest in my stamina or complaints. I just feel gratitude for being part of this, for having the opportunity to connect, to contribute, to confirm what life is all about.
None of this erases the challenges. I know what I need to address and feeling held by Creation is not a form of denial. I am not masking the worry or anxiety of another day and more difficult choices. But I feel perspective, I know it is not all about me and that is a blessing. To know you arrive each day with a network of relationships and commitments gives some comfort to the first phone call, the first visit, the first email. I can’t do it all and I won’t get it all right. But I am certain that whatever I do or say or write I am part of what God intends, a community that breathes love and the need to make a difference. Having a purpose is all I really need.