Pacific, Storm, January, 2017 (meb)
Sometimes, the path is not clear. What will I do with my one “wild and precious life?” I continue to ask, even this late in the journey. The world is mine; I have my whole life of experience behind me. Much that preoccupied me in earlier years will not arise again (thank God!). And still, there is this yearning.
If I could do anything, what would it be? These are the wonderings, the meanderings of a person of privilege in this world, to be sure. Should I write? Of course. Should I travel? Yes, as long as I can, and am able. As long as I have other places to explore. Should I sing? Oh, yes!
How can I serve? That has been a question I have held within myself since I was young, and that question alone has been a key that has opened a world to me, a key that broadened my world by measures I could not have imagined. When I set out to “serve,” to help human-kind (at the time, I thought my service would “make a difference;” now, I think not), I was willing to let go of other things to do so. Instead, I have discovered that the desire to serve, that alone, opened the door to another life for me.
As I’ve grown older, I know that the value of service is not a value held by everyone. I suppose for me, it has been a motivating force. I thought it was a value of my generation; apparently not. To serve is a value to some.
Another key to the opening of my life has been something that came with growing up in my family. Although neither of my parents was “educated,” – my mother received her GED when I was in college, my father went through the 8th grade – both of my parents had a bright and vivid interest in the world. Where did that come from? I see now that having that interest in the world has been a shining star that has lit my path. I see that others lack this quality – they will not “go beyond his father’s saying, and he likes having thought of it so well, he says again: ‘Good fences make good neighbors (Robert Frost, “Birches”).”
I have an interest in the world that has allowed me to see that others can live differently than me, and that is good, not something that is suspect. I have an interest in the world that has softened the edges of what I hold as right or good or holy. My interest in the world has been a doorway – a wide, broad doorway with edges that can expand – has given me curiosity about the lives of others, about the world. My curiosity has allowed me to question my own values and to see that they are mine, my own. Others have their own; I may not understand, but it is good.
When my brother Ronn first married, I was still in my teens. One day he said to me, casually, “do you know that other families are not interested in the world, like ours is?” I shook my head. I had not thought of such a thing, and even more, I could not imagine it. Like a child who observes the home of another family for the first time, seeing that things are different here, his question opened my world, even more.
For all of these things, I am grateful. I am grateful for the call to service. That call has been a well-appointed entrance into a larger world, for me. I am grateful for the gift of interest, a simple quality, but a quality that carries within it a curiosity, about people, about life. That curiosity also carries within it a curiosity about self, and that deeper, inside journey is itself a treasure.
“And God saw that it was good.” – Genesis, The Bible