"The more we return and remember, the more we become the selves we have longed to be." Judith Kunst
My aunt wrote a poem for me at my birth, committing herself to watch and build and encourage my frame and my soul. And wouldn't you know she actually did. Does. She watched me move into different seasons, figure out foolishness and passion and she understood who I was so deeply that many times my own mother said, "You could have been your Aunt Cyn's daughter, you know."
I don't know which happened more truly: she looked and me and saw herself, or I looked at her and saw who I was becoming.
She retired from ministry last month; forty years of serving, teaching, and opening the kingdom. When she was done she drove those first foggy miles of transition to where we were and we all rejoiced together on the beach, near the ocean that seems to nourish us all. She tossed out the black nylons and moved into congruency with an orange purse and her Chuck Taylors. It painted a picture for me, not of some romanticized valiant soldier for the Lord, but of one beautifully weary from the good work. A good kind of weary. A grateful weary moving now into rest.
I am twenty three years behind her in this vocation. I still have good and hard ahead: people who don't like me and don't get close, but also people who melt my heart and remind me what love is. There will be heartbreak and assumptions, but there will also be breakthrough and challenge and trust. There will be cracks and healing, burn and salve, foolishness and passion.
I am letting go of some life that doesn't exist and working with what God has given me, no longer imagining that I can do any more than that. I am reminded that this whole life is one to be done with God, not for, and when all else falls away, friends or titles or forty year ministries, that though he continue to slay me yet I will trust in him. Though we want to believe that our clinging to him won't cause us wounds and weariness, the wrestling and the struggle will touch our sides and make us limp. But I will not let go until he blesses me.
Out of our woundedness comes our sense of identity and even humor and from our wandering grows wisdom and compassion. When I return I remember that longevity goes hand in hand with both grasping and letting go. When I return and remember I become the self that I long to be.