“It’s not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you take into eternity. You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.” ~ Dallad Willard, as quoted by John Ortberg in Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You
So how does one live like that? How can we decide what to do that will “become” us? make more of us? forge us ahead in the God-intended direction?
I’m not sure. And I know completely that I can’t know that for you. But deciding ahead of time that I can’t know is completely defeating. That prevents me from imagining or wondering or asking. What a shame it would be if that, reluctance to ask, defined my relationship with the one who has my eternal destiny in mind.
Perhaps we don’t ask because we don’t want to know. If we knew we would have to do something about the answer. Much safer to stay in the dark and stay quiet.
What if I believed that asking was my entry into becoming? Asking. Not answering. Not knowing. Not doing or not doing. Of course, there would be the responsibility of complying with the word I heard when I asked.
Do I have that kind of courage?
I can always ask to be brave, or at least braver.
Kylie is 11 and likes “My Little Ponies.” She tells me their names and describes who they are and what they like to do. She’s trying to decide which one to buy when they go to the mall today, so she rattles off their names: Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow, Rarity and Pinkie. She has narrowed it down to two contenders. Oh, and she also plays a mean game of soccer.
“My friend told me ‘if I’m an athlete, I have to be tough. I shouldn’t like girly ponies,'” Kylie said. “They’re my soft side.”
“You’re like a matryoshka doll,” I said. “Got a tough outside, but the doll underneath is softer.”
Kylie didn’t know what matryoshka dolls were but she had seen nesting dolls that, when you lift the largest outer one, you discover others underneath of gradually decreasing size.
“I like to think we are made like this,” I said, thinking myself very wise. “We probably spend our whole lives discovering what is at our center.”
“Oh, I already know what’s there,” she said. “Kindness and gentleness.”
Gulp. Been schooled by an 11 year old. Fruit of the spirit, of course. Reminds me why God keeps giving me these kids. I got a lot to learn.
PS She picked Applejack because she loves apples.