Admit it. We all want the full meal deal: nine gifts of the Spirit, every fruit in a neat little package with our name printed on it and Christ, the only ingredient listed. We want what those people are having, but we don't know to get it. Wisdom tells us transformation doesn't happen quickly, then we're fooled when it beats us to breakfast. We can spend a life-time trying to disentangle the do/be dilemma. God does it, but what's my part? I still have to show up and sometimes I can't or won't. If we care for others without caring for ourselves, it won't work. Or will it? Where's the line between rest and self-indulgence? When it comes to attaining spiritual maturity, there's so much I don't know, and yet I keep being led back to a thought that might be true. We can relax. God will get us there in the end. We just don't know what "there" looks like. Perhaps when I arrive I'll open up my take-out life and say, "This isn't what I ordered." And God and I will have a good laugh.
If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line–starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past the appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circling or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led–make of that what you will. —Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow
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This is a song to sing when you get tired of asking “Are we there yet?” Here’s a link to see Nightbirde performing it on America’s Got Talent.