What follows is a poem about my life. During one of my Lectio Divina meditations, I thought about what I have accomplished in my life. By all the measures that the world has for success, I have been an abject failure. I never made lots of money from work, I was never in a position of leadership at the top of any organization. I failed at what I do best, trying to arrange people together to learn from each other. My positions of employment did not want what I had to offer so I only used less than 5 percent of my talents. I was rejected for promotion or hire on twenty-one occasions, for reasons I don’t know, but suspect as being age-related. I failed at the few attempts at starting my own business. I don’t have many friends who call me or visit me, so I must be a failure as a person. I am besieged from all sides to stop writing books or blogs because it is too expensive and no one reads my stuff. I am told that I am a failure because I live in la-la land, the land that is not real, and that being a Lay Cistercian is just to gain attention for my pitiful personality. I am a failure because I did not choose to place fame, fortune, power, glamour, adulation, position, or honor as the center of my life. By any measure of what it means to be successful in life, I am a failure.
Yet, what the world considers foolish, the wisdom of God makes perfect. During a lifetime of struggling to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5), I have learned that the same Jesus is merciful and most patient with my sinfulness. Not that I always go about sinning, but am prone to struggle to keep the tools for good works in Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule. http://www.osb.org/rb/text/toc.html#toc That is my failure in the spiritual world, and I embrace it eagerly. Here are six thresholds that I have discovered. They are my successes. Not that I have achieved them, but am in the processing of exploring them.
Having said all of this, here is the poem of my life.
The Poem of My Life
I sing a song of life and love…
…sometimes flat and out of tune
…sometimes eloquent and full of passion
…sometimes forgetting notes and melody
…sometimes quaint and intimate
…often forgetful and negligent
…often in tune with the very core of my being
…often with the breath of those who would pull me down, shouting
right in my face
…often with the breath of life uplifting me to heights never before dreamed
…greatly grateful for the gift of humility and obedience to The One
…greatly thankful for adoption, discovery of new life of pure energy
…greatly appreciative for sharing meaning with others of The Master
…greatly sensitive for not judging the motives of anyone but me
…happy to be accepted as an aspiring Lay Cistercian
…happy to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration
…happy and humbled to be an adopted son of the Father
…happy for communities of faith and love with wife, daughter, friends
…mindful that the passage of time increases each year
…mindful of the major distractions of cancer and cardiac arrest
…mindful of my center and the perspective that I am loved and must
love back with all the energy of my heart and strength, yet failing
…mindful the energy I receive from The One in Whom I find
purpose and meaning…Forever.
To The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, be glory, honor, power and blessings through The Redeemer Son in unity with the Advocate, Spirit of Love.
From The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, I seek hope that His words about the purpose of life are true, that He is the way that leads to life…Forever.
With The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, I seek the fierce love so I can have in me the mind of Christ Jesus, my personal purpose in life and my center…Forever.
“That in all things, may God be glorified.” –St. Benedict