I’m staring at another blinking cursor, taunting me and trying to convince me to chase it across the virgin white screen. I wonder if this is how extreme skiers feel when looking at the untouched powder that they long to slash through, making their mark along the way. I’m having some difficulty chasing this morning, but it’s Monday and being the slave to schedule that I am, I’m here in my caffeine portal trying to fill the white with “my mark”. I can’t decide whether I’m being driven by need or want at the moment. After all, I reason to myself “what would it hurt to take a day off?” Would it be held against me? That doesn’t seem to help. Here I am anyway.
Is it need or want that brings me here again? I guess that this is the question of a lifetime. In the dawn of time, excluding the cell merging, fish forming, legs growing, dragging up on the beach, growing hair and then walking upright part, when Adam and Eve sat in a garden looking at the apple, lost in the “I’m not going to try it, you try it” argument, the conflict began. Do we need it or do we want it? In a garden full of other choices, why do we have to make this one? And just what is the more valid question anyway?
Back to my dilemma…Do I need to make my mark or do I just want to? I’ve spent the past few weeks wrestling with my future. I have some options. Believe me when I say that I’m fortunate to have options. However, options demand choices and choices mean decisions and decisions are not something I want more of at the moment. I can pursue an even higher form of education than currently hangs on my wall. I’m not a great fan of formalized education. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve valued it for the most part. Ultimately though, the only reason anyone really knows that I have any is because I insist on hanging the paper on my wall. No one has ever, since my acquiring it, asked to see it. Why would I want to pay large sums of disposable income on another piece of paper that I’ll need to spend even more disposable income on buying another frame to hang it in so that I can display it next to my “Far side” collection. So I wonder, do I need it or just want it?
I’ve also been experimenting in the idea of formally publishing some marks that I make on the white of the screen. This past weekend I was challenged in a publishing seminar with the question, “Is there a need for what you write?” That one question redefined the whole need and want discussion one more time, but in a different way. Is there a need or do I just want to write it? This morning I’m beginning to realize that this taunting cursor that I have viewed for so long as a nemesis is actually a mentor of sorts. When I sat down here this morning, I certainly didn’t want to write. I needed to write. I’m not sure why? I look back over 100 plus posts and I realize that it hasn’t always been fun, but it’s always been freeing.
This time of year holds special meaning to the “pastoral arts” profession that I find myself in as well as those in my community o’ faith. As we prepare to observe the indescribable events of 2000 years ago, I’m drawn to the need versus want struggle that is highlighted in another garden. As I read these pages and I see the struggle between needing to extend a means of grace and wanting to be the one to do it, I am fixated by the implications. My future hung there in the balance as Jesus wrestled with needing to do what He didn’t want to do. It helps bring my current dilemma into a new, rather humbling, arena of insignificance.
I have come to believe that people are led towards what they need to do, by the influences of what they want to do. What Jesus needed to do, offer his life, ultimately came about by an overwhelming want to express His love. It was a love for The Father and a love for those whom He created. It was who He was. It is recorded and demonstrated that God is love and that Jesus is God, so therefore Jesus is love and love drove Him to do both what He needed and ultimately wanted to do. It’s almost circular. It’s probably not all that theologically deep, but it comforts me. In a similar way, although very pale in comparison, I think that my life is driven toward what I’m needed to do, by what I really want to do. It’s how I came to express my faith in the first place. I needed to do it. Everyone does, but I was led by what I wanted which was to more fully explore something that I new was “out there” and I had seen evidence for in the lives of significant people in my life. As my journey has progressed, I believe that I’m needed to continue to explore and grow in my faith and influence. It’s been happening through my want to be a better model of faith than others I have witnessed.
For now, I’m still in the middle somewhere. I have more questions than answers, which is how it should be if God is even half the God that I imagine. I think that maybe I do have one answer though. I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I want my life to make a mark. I have to be content though with the realization that it probably only will when God needs it to.