Let me begin by asking you to bear with me. This should all eventually connect…
A long while ago I had decided that the students who would receive my fictional millions as scholarships would be those students who sometimes receive instead a sigh and a look to the distance, as if wondering how to characterize them or where to put them, categorically. In my mind, this was going to be dubbed The Good Egg Scholarship. Not that my decision would not have criteria—it did indeed. She would have a solid B to B+ (US grading system) average; demonstrate academic interest and passionate curiosity, critical and creative thinking; He would hold down a part-time job and have a savings account only he contributed to and be in financial need if college was going to be possible; She would have friends who could spontaneously and voluntarily vouch for her character and a life that included interests beyond the scope of school; He would be able to articulate hopes and achievable dreams for the good he would offer to the universe.
Alas, the millions have remained illusory and so no GES has ever been awarded.
Last weekend, there was a program at Barat Spirituality Centre during which the speaker said, Perhaps briefly, there might be a flare but really, most of us lead quite ordinary lives. Not quite so long ago, say one decade instead of three, I’d have felt a bit prickly about that. Living an ordinary life felt like something I was relegated to living. Somewhere within, there remained this secret desire to hold a flare. Even though also within me, there was the pragmatic realist who said—you, Kim, are far more about carrying around, offering, and knowing how to use, a wrench and flashlight should the need arise.
I have thought a lot about that as I engage in conversations about the future, about the mission of the Society, about how we are changing, how we want to organize, etc. There will be those people who will walk by the light of the sparks in this world. Who see the signals raised and go to the source, are right there with them, offering the incredible good of who they are at the service of enormous, pressing need; Those who see further, who are visionaries with a seemingly endless supply of flares. There always are. And thank goodness.
And then, as I said yesterday on a video conference, there are those who wake up and have their tea and oatmeal and think about the next eight hours, maybe the next week or month or occasional year. There are those who are not ignoring the cries of the world but rather addressing the manifestation of those cries as they are made known via those we encounter in the daily whatnot of life that follows putting one’s feet upon the ground in the morning: The cry from others to be seen, to be recognized. The cry to be heard, to be understood. The clamour for hope; the wail for justice; The ache for beauty; the desperation for Love.
What I have seen over time and absolutely need to believe for things to make any real sense at all, is that an ordinary life provides extraordinary opportunity to ease the burden of some of those cries however they are manifest in the people I happen to encounter in a given day. And to do so just by using the metaphorical wrench and flashlight I happen to carry anyway…. No flare needed.
This was all freshly dancing within me as I checked my social media feeds this morning…and noticed this photo from the Mindful Christianity Facebook page, as shared/posted on the provincial vocations page, We Are Sacred Heart:
Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.