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Sat Apr 11 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic
Sun Apr 12 @05:00 - 08:00AM
Koinos Church
Sat Apr 18 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

The "Right" Path

I have often noted to myself and in conversation with others how common it is to form and use clichés according to the situation at hand. For example, we use “Looks are deceiving” when something turns out to be other than it appears, but then say “seeing is believing” in order to substantiate something visible but under question.  Seldom does anyone note the mutual exclusivity of these two ideas. The truth really is that pretending either is a principle is rather disingenuous. Sometimes things are exactly as they seem, and other times not.

 

I have seen and experienced the same dynamic at work when it comes to issues of vocation, or even calling. Sometimes things seem to go really well and smoothly, and people claim emphatically “Well, you can really tell he or she is in the right place. Everything is coming together perfectly!” Another person seems to find struggle at every turn, and frustration and failure become the air he or she breathes. To this, almost invariably, some proclaim something like: “Well, you can tell that person is in the right place. Look at how he or she is under attack. Something really great must be going on!” Often the person in the particular situation uses these same arguments or assertions to validate not only their work, but their person – even their very identity. I have often done this myself. In this kind of case, I think the tendency is particularly destructive, unhealthy, and manipulative.

 

I think the innate longing for purpose, coupled with our own sense of insecurity, produces a desire to validate self in these sorts of ways. Life and the world are really unpredictable, and we humans like to feel secure and certain. The pat answers help us to cope with our own fear of missing the mark. One of the problems with this is that this is an inadequate way of measuring or assessing whether one is in the “right place” or on the “right path” for his or her life.

 

I know this: sometimes things come together in miraculous ways, and the path seems to have been cleared. At other times, the path is hard and seems like the obstacles are overwhelming and many. My life, my work, my path are doomed to dictation by circumstance, self-doubt, and pat answers, unless I can find my way to the internal sense of “home” that is not contingent on clichéd circumstances. I have spent much of my adult life sorting through this, and I’m certain I’m not alone.

 

I saw “Draft Day” tonight. At one point during the film, a point at which Kevin Costner’s character is struggling with a decision that everyone else seems to think is a “cleared path,” resulting in his self-doubt about what he believes is the way he should do his job, Jennifer Garner’s character says: “Sometimes the right path is the tortured one.”

 

The “right path” is sometimes bathed in bright light and seems to be a cleared road, but at others it is strewn with obstacles. Sometimes the look of it is deceiving; at other times seeing really is believing. But that is not ultimately the point.

 

Only the inner sense of “home” can help me, you, or anyone navigate life either way.