“Many years ago now, when I was invited to speak at a church gathering, my host said, 'Tell us what is saving your life now.' It was such a good question that I have made a practice of asking others to answer it even as I continue to answer it myself.”
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church, p.225)
I've volunteered to be part of Faith in Action Alabama. We're in the process of interviewing people about what they see as the most critical issues in this state. Clearly, Alabama suffers from its historically dark past as the capital of the Confederacy, its antique constitution that still contains all the Jim Crow language and laws, its poverty of vision and education, and its staggering resistance to change and progress, just to name a few. I could go on with that list until the cows come home, but it's pointless. The question we're supposed to ask folks in this information-gathering interview is, “What keeps you up at night?” I like the question, but it's a bottomless pit leading only to the molten center of the earth. Alabama, as it stands now, is a lifeless foot, cut off from its blood supply by a tourniquet of its own making. Only a revolution in consciousness will save it, and that's slow in coming.
A better question, to my mind, is the one posed by Barbara Brown Taylor, in Leaving Church. “What is saving your life now?” The great theologian, Howard Thurman, famously said, “Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive.” We can make lists problems from now until the second coming, but solving them is going to be the heavy-lifting work of people who have come alive. Day by day, doing what makes you want to sing, what makes your heart beat a little faster, what makes you want to jump out of bed before daylight so you can get a head-start—that's what will make a change in the drudgery of the daily grind, and in the dark and dismal energy of this time.
So, today, give it some thought. What is saving your life right now? What makes you come alive?
In the Spirit,