Friday, November 26, 2010

And Another Thing About Spiritual Authority...

And another thing...

I remember my daughter's teenage years.  You would not know it to meet her now--she's poised, charming, generous, clearly intelligent and lovely.  But her teenage years were scary ones for us, her parents.  (More than average, I think.)

I have a gift for guilt and worry, insecurity and obsessiveness.  And I clearly remember when I realized that I just had to set that aside.

It didn't matter if it was all my fault, or not.  It didn't matter if I was a terrible mother.  It didn't matter if she was going to hate me or blame me or if I was going to hate or blame myself.  The  only thing that mattered, the only thing, was the question, what do I do now?

What am I supposed to do, what will be in any way helpful, now, today, to help my kid survive being an adolescent?

Spiritual authority is like that.  It's about when you don't have the luxury of blaming yourself, or worrying about whether or not you're adequate or lovable.  You have to set all that aside.  Because, if you look, you can see it's stopped being about you at all.

It's not about you.  It's about the Work you're being called to do.

You don't get to have insecurity or defensiveness or guilt.  You don't get to let that even matter.  Your job is to do the Work at hand, and trust that what you need will come to you when it's time.

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There's this story I've heard Quakers tell.  Maybe you've heard it, too: about when this guy Moses got his marching orders from a burning bush on a mountain, to get himself into Egypt and walk up to Pharaoh and get all up in his face and tell him, Let my people go.

Get it done, Moses.

Moses pointed out he had a speech impediment.

God essentially said, Hey, whatever.  Take Aaron along to back you up.  But it's on you, kid--Aaron is just the B side.  Pack your bags, son--you've got a job to do.

And Moses went.

And that's what spiritual authority is.

But for me, it's also that thing in me that broke, the year I was most fearful for my child, and I understood that it wasn't about me any more.

Spiritual authority is what happens when the Work is bigger than we are, and when the only question left is, "How?"





4 comments:

Hystery said...

This post, like so many others you have written, truly speaks to me and for me.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

{{{Hystery}}}

Thank you.

anj said...

Living through some rough growing up years with my sons now. Particularly my oldest. Len and I have been sitting with this question of how what do we now? What is the process? What is the next step? Your last post, and this one, bring much light to me. Thank you.

Elizabeth said...

Yes! I needed to hear this. Thank you.

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