“We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out, that archangels may come in. We are idolaters of the old… We do not believe there is any force in to-day to rival or recreate that beautiful yesterday. We linger in the ruins of the old tent, where once we had bread and shelter and organs, nor believe that the spirit can feed, cover, and nerve us again. We cannot again find aught so dear, so sweet, so graceful. But we sit and weep in vain. The voice of the Almighty saith, ‘Up and onward for evermore!’ We cannot stay amid the ruins. Neither will we rely on the new; and so we walk ever with reverted eyes, like those monsters who look backwards.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation
One of our exercises this week was to read an obituary each day. This brought into focus again the deep losses in my own family in the past few years… reminders that we are not promised a long life, and that each day truly is a gift from God.
It also reminded me of the loss of a dear friend a few weeks ago, and the loss of my mom two months ago. I have a good many family members and friends on Facebook who also knew my mom, and for several weeks I saw the message over and over again…
Just imagine for a moment that your name is so unusual that you were 52 years old before you met another outside our family with the same name. Now, can you imagine what it did to me to see the words, over and over again on numerous Facebook profiles… “R.I.P. Willena”?
Very simply, it gives new meaning to the old advice to live each day as if it’s your last.
I know I will rest in peace when I’m gone from here, because I will be with my wonderful Lord in heaven. But what about the time I have left here on earth? Am I resting in peace, knowing I am fulfilling my purpose? Or am I stuck, like the person Emerson described above?
The Hero’s Journey
In 2006, a close friend of mine suffered several major losses in a short time. Within three months she’d lost her marriage and her church, consequentially changing some fundamental theological beliefs, and she gave up homeschooling to send her children to a local school. Everything had changed, and she along with it. And I asked myself, How much can a person change and still be the same person?
Another friend, recently came to the end of an eight-year term as a missionary in South Africa. Many choices were open to her, and the question she asked herself was, How can I best serve God, with or without remaining in the mission I’ve been with all my life? Her subsequent choice took her into something quite different from what she had been doing all along.
There is PLENTY of room for a person to change, and still be the same person. We are not locked into any box or mold.
So what does all this mean to me?
Enter the Hero’s Journey. Or, shall I say, My Journey to become the woman God intended and designed me to be. He created me exactly the way I am. Everything about me is exactly right for His purpose for me. All my strengths and weaknesses, the family I was born into, all the things that have happened to me, and all the decisions I’ve made, have brought me to this place in my life.
And it’s all good. As long as I am willing to cross the threshold and take The Hero’s Journey. My journey to become the woman God intended and designed me to be.