Monday, July 09, 2007

gifts

It’s crowded in here this morning. I’m a bit later than usual so I avoided the beach this morning, but this isn’t much better. Even the local police are having a hard time finding a seat. I’m not giving up mine. I’ve given enough to local law enforcement lately, but let’s not go there today. They have their jobs to do. It’s just that they seem to enjoy it so much when it’s not to my benefit. I do have to admire the attitude though. To love what you do is certainly a gift that not nearly enough get to experience. I have a feeling that this has a direct effect on the mid-life crisis phenomenon.
I know this to be true. I’ve already been there and come out on the other side. Growing up in a success driven culture, an understanding is formed that you need to be good at what you do. Good is successful right? Good brings you recognition. Recognition brings you finances, and finances bring you security, and security brings you happiness, right? Maybe. Most likely not though. Mostly it’s a load of crap. The only ones to get rich off of this concept is the counselors who treat those of us who have been sold this concept and the ones who right the books that encourage us onwards toward being good.
Now, lest this become depressing and morose and melancholy and whatever else leads one to turn to the goth side, let me brighten the day. Good may be good, but loving is best. Allow me to elaborate. It’s all well and good to have expertise in your chosen life’s work as long as, and only as long as, you are passionate about what you do. If it lifts you out of bed in the morning and helps you seek the beginning of each new day, then you have my permission to pursue expertise in it. After all, being good at something certainly enhances the experience. It doesn’t however create the experience. The love of it naturally leads to the expertise, it doesn’t work the other way around.
I have recently been honored to be surrounded by people in my community o’ faith who truly love what they do regardless of the status and compensation. Yesterday I was able to enjoy the presence of a truly gifted guitarist. He was beyond gifted actually, one of the best I’ve seen and certainly the best I’ve met personally. The energizing thing about being around him though was his obvious love for what he did and his “God will provide” attitude in which he pursues the sharing of his gift. I was able to witness artists and artist “someday will- be’s” contributing to a collaborative painting that takes place each week during our teaching time. The love of the experience brings it all to life as I get to do what I love in my pastoral arts role while they get to communicate in a way that they love in the visual arts discipline.
Even better news for you reading this today is that you can start today, doing something that you love I mean. It is a gift and you don’t need to wait until tomorrow to open it. (Unless of course you’re reading this at 11pm). Why do you do what you do? Is it because it is the responsible thing to do? The cynics will ask “what if everyone just did what they really loved, willy nilly, with no regard to salary, security, or family?”. I’d respond that we would all be in a much happier place. God can handle it. I see Him as big picture, as in the Milky Way galaxy, and He’s in the details. Just look at your fingers as you type. A new dynamic would be created, maybe even a new paradigm. (I’ve never been able to use that word so I thought I’d just stick it in here)
What will my wife say, my husband, my kids? They just might say “I love you” more if you are an enjoyable person to be around. I would suggest that you would be a more enjoyable person to be around if you are immersed in the gift of what you love. If you love what you do, truly love it with every bit of your being, it’s probably because you’re doing what you were created to do. So do it with every ounce of your being. Take a risk and really live life. Jesus promised life more abundant for those who choose to live life according to His plan. If you are of the persuasion that you don’t buy into the Jesus thing, well consider this. You only have one life. Make it count. I’m confident that mine will count in this one and the next. What about you? It is your gift and the only thing better than getting a gift is sharing yours along the way. That is really the only thing that we’re called to be successful at anyway.

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