There are some people and some voices that we cling to in various seasons of life. Throughout my life, I have done this with friends and heroes, writers and musicians. Yet there is one voice I’ve never mentioned in church life or in writing but certainly has affected many lives over many years: Parker J. Palmer. A writer, educator and activist, Dr. Palmer’s writing for a wide range of audiences has been life-changing for many. He is known for his simple concepts shaped in ways that cut through complicated puzzles in each of our lives.
One of his classic books, Let Your Life Speak, digs into self-reflection in how we evolve and how we want to live out our vocation and life legacy. It is written for all ages and life stages, and there are many gems in quotes to ponder. Here is one in particular, as we think about our own life legacies and our faith journeys:
“But if I am to let my life speak things I want to hear, things I would gladly tell others, I must also let it speak things I do not want to hear and would never tell anyone else! My life is not only about my strengths and virtues; it is also about my liabilities and my limits, my trespasses and my shadow. An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for ‘wholeness’ is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident and proud of.”― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
This quote haunts me sometimes. Why? Because it means I really really have to be honest with myself and my God. It shows that we must remain authentic, open, always cutting through the difficult moments to prioritize the truth. We name the human incarnation of our selves, the flawed and limited, the holy and incredible. And it is all a part of us.
What do you think of this? What “speaks” to you from this passage, and do you squirm in your seat a bit as you read it? In order to strive for wholeness, what do you embrace that is not-so-great about yourself? What do you embrace that you’re proud of, too? Just some things to think about.
Happy week, beloved.
October 2 – World Communion Sunday
- Children and youth read litany and present breads to altar as part of this memorable annual time of global Communion. To sign your kids up to present a bread or to read, email Laurel by 9/24.
October 14-15 – Centering Prayer Retreat
Led by Tim Freeman, this unique opportunity offers space for older teens and adults to center themselves for connection and reflection with God. Great for beginners to experts in centering prayer. This will take place at church and is not overnight. Book to be read before the retreat; please contact Tim at email@example.com to sign up and receive more info. If you have childcare needs, please contact Laurel by Sept. 25 to make church arrangements.
October 16 – Children’s Sabbath
- Children lead at Holmeswood, and this day is a global focus shared with faith communities around the world. Started and resourced by the Children’s Defense Fund, “The National Observance of Children’s Sabbath, is a time for people of all faiths to unite in shared concern for children and common commitment to improving children’s lives and working for justice on their behalf.”
- If your child/youth would like a leadership part in Worship, be sure and attend BFG in September and October, where they will be preparing (singing, speaking, etc.); email Laurel if you have any questions.