Did I even go outside today? Yeah, now that I think of it I did, if only for bare moments. I walked the dog for a little bit, picked up a shirt which had flown off the deck down onto the brush below. I stood for a few moments on my balcony, just to stare for a little bit, and another little bit while I was on the phone.
These little bits did not do justice to the day. It was a brilliant day, with a wonderful breeze blowing along all afternoon, keeping the air cool and positively chipper. It was the kind of day which welcomes one outside to sit a spell, and read, or if that doesn’t work out then do nothing at all but absorb the beauty of a mountain forest. It was not a day to be spent getting frustrated at computer tasks, staring at computer screens, and realizing the software I have newly received is Coltrane… and I’m just getting to know Taps.
Yet, the way the day was not made to be spent was how I went about the day, finding myself feeling inadequate to no end, which drifted into other areas of frustration, and then entered my soul as some pervasive emptiness of being. Computer code will do that I suppose.
Yesterday I felt the similar feeling and decided to go for a rather long run through the hills. Well up and over and back up and over at least, if not exactly through. I thought about the requisite spiritual analogies to such a run, and was otherwise brightened in my demeanor.
Then more books came today. Instructional books for the humbling software which made me sit and stare, hands on my forehead. But, that’s what comes and I guess what I’m supposed to do, even if it isn’t exactly the Answer I’ve been praying for.
Which brings to mind the other realization I had on my run which is a consideration of how I view my role or response within the broader Body of Christ in this world.
I’m a pastor by training, with pieces of paper and letters after my name to prove it, without a church to call my own. Realizing my role and response is important, because it keeps me from seeing my past years of training as being some kind of waste and misdirection. With prayer and a good long run up and over some steep hills I regain the perspective which helps me see myself as who I am and how I work. Which is thus: I am an investor.
Most pastors are products or services. Most of those who work in a Church have gifts which are meant to be highlighted and people are drawn to such gifts, and they tell their friends they just have to see this new product, and the pastor sells the core membership by expounding on the benefits of living like this product.
I’m an investor. A venture capitalist of sorts. I have proven I can do the pastory things, and do them quite well, except I’m an awful salesman. By awful I really mean terrible because I have far too much of the “take it or leave it” attitude to ever convince anyone of doing what I very well may believe will in fact change their life. I hate selling things. I like talking about things. I like discussing things. I like engaging things. I hate the whole concept of packaging and selling. No, it’s not that I hate it, it’s more like I am missing that gene altogether. It’s just not there.
However, I like to invest in people. I see someone who is capable and gifted and I want to work to help them find themselves, to help them find the Spirit within, and help them to have confidence to pursue their highest path. I want to provoke and aid and assist people to go beyond what they can see and find that golden reality which I see in them. I want to use my gifts to help their gifts blossom. I want to invest so that they become fuller and wiser and more hopeful.
This personal reality means I’ve picked up a rather wide set of skills over the years, and touch on a curious manner of interests, some profound, some mundane. I see people and I want to do what I can to propel them forward.
The problem is that this means I am far too interested in investing in people I know, and not at all interested in investing in faceless corporations or businesses. The former give more satisfaction, the latter give more money. It’s a spiritual investment, you see, so the money isn’t as big a deal if I can really see myself helping to propel people forward. That’s a major part of my present circumstances, which will sound curious to anyone who knows the details of my present circumstances. I am in a position to be profoundly helpful to two people who have different goals, yet who I am able to come alongside and assist them as they press onwards.
I cannot sell, and I cannot invest in that which seemingly has no eternal value. But, I pour myself into people and directions, seeing how the Spirit works through me to be a light.
Getting discouraged hides that light, which leads me to understand prayer, and present circumstances lead me to understand humility. This is my nature, however, to be one who invests, and so I can embrace this aspect or seek to be someone else entirely. By embracing this I might lose present favor, from some, but by seeking to be someone else I lose myself. So there is only to press onwards, and invest in those who accept my investment, and be for them what the Spirit calls me to be.
All the while I wonder what new investment opportunities might present themselves, and watch for those which seem especially curious and interesting.
In this, in finding light and stillness in this, I think I am learning the fluidity of the Spirit. Sometimes, it just gets hard to hear the whispers and feel the direction of the breeze. Tonight has that. So there is only to return to prayer, and keep returning, until I find it.