Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shepherds and Incandescence

I have my found my thing.

Well, okay, I did not really find it. Someone else found it for me – Gene Logsdon in You Can Go Home Again. There is was, sitting there –I’d even read it before, but never consciously made the connection:

“But I came home to be a shepherd in another way, also unanticipated. I became a shepherd of homesick humans. I had always seen in the ‘Little Bo Peep’ rhyme more than the literal meaning of the lines: ‘Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, bringing their tails behind them.’ I thought that admonition applied to people in more cases than to sheep, and it certainly had applied to me. From the mail and phone calls I was receiving in mounting numbers, it was obvious that most people were trying to come home, if not literally then to someplace they could make into a true home, a place where they actually lived their lives. Some went home not exactly willingly at first, forced to do so by downsizing, and found that losing their high-paying jobs turned out to be a blessing. Some waited until they retired, when they could escape the mad manacles of wage-slaveocracy. Some waited until the very end and came home in coffins.

Becoming a shepherd of lost souls was unnerving for me. I was a lost soul myself. But I tried to answer all the questions of homesick; replied to all their mail; allowed them to come here even when I doubted that visiting me was going to help their troubled spirits; wrote books that I hoped would inspire those with a true vocation for this kind of living and would discourage those who were only fantasizing. I became a shepherd, calling home those people who should have never left in the first place. How much profit per acre is this worth in accounting terms?”

That’s what it is: Going home to the place you belong. Being and living where you are. Being an integrated whole: as Benjamin Franklin said “What you seem to be, be really.” Not being different parts of yourself in different places: authenticity.

This tied in with a second thought, one I couldn't remember until I got home tonight at midnight, nagging at my mind. It was in today's reading of My Utmost for His Highest:

"We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing, then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say - "Oh, who am I?" We have to learn the first great stride of God - "I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee." We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God (see Matthew 3:17). We fix on the individual aspect of things; we have the vision - "This is what God wants me to do;" but we have not got into God's stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead. " (Emphasis mine).

That's what I want too: the individuality that God has granted me (whatever permutation that may be) to be made incandescent, that light on a hill - not by anything I do or have done, but by God showing Himself through me. That is to be truly authentic, truly whole, and in the end, to be shepherd Logsdon speaks off, guiding people back home.

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