Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Flying or falling with style?

My diary might not be full, as some diaries appear to be. I may not be juggling meetings and events, relying upon others to be flexible enough to fit in with my plans. I've yet to be asked to lead a national movement or plan a global strategy. I don't even have a proper job.
I'm not handling million pound contracts or invoices, and I haven't made any policy decisions that will affect thousands of people or even a single individual. I have not been asked my opinion on the deficit, the Euro-crisis, or the planned expansion of air-passenger capability for London.
But my life lacks neither purpose nor meaning.
Later today I will lead a funeral service for a family who are not famous, but are in need. They need someone to walk alongside them as they try to work out the significance of their loss. Like many families for whom I've had this same privilege they look to me to help them do this.
This could be my life. This could be what I do, all I do. Anonymously serving people at a time of need. It will not make me rich. It will not make me famous. It will not even pay my bills!
Each time I lead a funeral I wonder why I do it. I get nervous, I worry about making a mistake, about being late, getting the wrong day at the wrong crematorium. I worry about what to say and how best to say it. I wonder if the mourners are just being nice when they shake hands and thank me.
Every so often I get a reassuring call from a funeral directors about a letter they've received from a family thanking them for their work and expressing their gratitude for the small part I played.
I'd like to inspire a generation, I'd like to lead a movement of change, I'd like to recognised for the contribution I've made to bring about a realignment of the local church towards God's mission. But in the end I doubt that this will be my purpose in life.
Sometimes I joke about wanting to find something that I'm really good at doing before I come to the end of my working life. Sometimes I mean it more seriously. Maybe I'm actually good at a lot of things I fail to value in the way God values them because I want something more.
Maybe my life is more significant than I imagine it to be.

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