In my former life as a practicing Christian, because of a certain author and book, there was a great emphasis on purpose.
What is the purpose of the church?
What is the purpose of your life?
Knowing that purpose and pursuing that purpose were the driving force of all your choices and decisions. It was a great burden.
What if you just didn’t know?
What if you made the wrong choice? Would that lead you down a path that was not your purpose?
It seems that life was always lived chasing something that was elusive. Even while there were those that made the distinction between what you were doing with your life versus how you were living your life, it still was a mode of living outside of your own heart, conforming to some prescribed other.
Those who could offer the six steps to this or the ten ways of being a better that were revered. I realized that is not a primarily Christian phenomenon. Formulas are very tempting because they promise a certain outcome. Sure success is a temptress to the human psyche.
I don’t remember being encouraged to embrace the messiness of life. There was always an answer, a fix to the problem, a road to salvation.
And I always felt less than. I always felt like I just couldn’t keep my feet on that line, on their line. Whether by my inability or my choice or just because that’s not how life is, staying on the straight and narrow road was impossible. I couldn’t and wouldn’t follow the rules.
I wanted to explore, to find my own way. I wanted to see what was over there at the edge of the road. I wanted to follow that twisted, meandering path through the forest.
I still do.
I want to make my mistakes and figure out how it all works. I want to cover it up and start again. I want to get lost and find my way back again.
This weekend, I tried something. I tried to paint the process of someone else, to follow the rules of someone else, to place my feet on their line.
It was not a disaster. If I continued to work at it, I could probably produce something just like or very similar to her paintings. Which would be beautiful. I admire her work so much.
But it’s not me. It’s not my process. It’s not my line.
It felt all wrong. My heart was not beating the rhythm of that practice.
This morning, I went to the canvases and I went back to my process. Some of it will be continuing on from where I am and some of it will be covering and starting over. But no matter, it will be mine. My line.
This morning, let me just interrupt and interject into your day.
If there is any purpose to your life, it is to know yourself, listen to your heart and walk your line. Boldly … Proudly … Joyfully … Walk Your Line!