Saturday, October 18, 2014

Making it Matter

When Bob and I were teenagers, we met at a place called Holden Village. The year we spent there made a very deep impression. In fact, I've been looking for Holden ever since. Just this morning, I realized I never lost it.
While students at the village, we heard professors and theologians, artists and cooks and construction workers talk about living a life of meaning. For months we watched adults wrestle with the big questions. The ones Shakespeare addressed in nearly every play.  We read Bonhoeffer and Tillich, C.S. Lewis and Barth, T.S. Elliot and St Augustine, Tolkien and Kierkegaard. And more. I still have the books on my shelf. They have followed me around from house to house, and it was when I looked at them this morning, in their familiar places, that it struck me. I never lost Holden because the pieces are still in my mind. The snatches of conversation, some which have become slogans for Bob and I, the voices of the seekers are still in there, though some are buried deep.
We were told from the beginning that we couldn't stay at Holden forever. It is a place apart, literally and spiritually a mountain top, and we must live in the real world. But, we could take some of it with us. What's kind of funny to me now is that I wanted more. I wanted my church to be Holden. I wanted my college to be Holden. I got disgruntled with both, wanting them to serve me. Didn't those professors and pastors want to ask the big questions? I seemed to have missed the conversations on humility and servant-hood that I know were going on the village. I seem to have expected others to be my Holden. Instead of myself.
Balance is a tricky trick. Taking life seriously without taking myself too seriously. Working hard without expecting to control outcomes. Letting everyone else make their own way while being true to myself. Being honest without being judgmental. And forgiving myself for not figuring everything out already.
Here is the funniest thing of all: I don't really make life matter. It matters all by itself. I don't make the meaning, I just learn to see it. There is a huge difference between surrendering the demands I have on life, and giving up. In fact, I think the road to humility and enlightenment is much more work than the way of blindly accepting someone else's dogma. So...I make it matter by letting go? I make it matter by understanding that I can't make life in my own image? Maybe after 42 years, some Holden conversations are just coming clear. Hmmm. Maybe Letting it Matter would be a better title.

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