I think the one word that best describes the life I’ve lived is one that has oft been used to describe the hard life of a farmer scratching out a subsistence living on a poor spot of land. Mine has always been a hardscrabble way of life, of making do and getting by, of having, thanks be to God, just enough with a little left over.
This isn’t to be viewed as a bad thing. It has, in fact, been quite an educational adventure, one with knocks and bruises that I’ve given myself, one with knocks and bruises others have given me. I’ve made some bad decisions that have had disastrous consequences. I’ve also made some very good ones. It seems that even the good ones have had their share of certain social consequences.
The truth of the matter is that personal success, in whatever slight measure, can often be a source of jealousy, envy, and their accompanying sundry rotten fruits. People are going to make judgments, whether they are looking up at our feet or down upon our heads; it matters not where we sit or stand, how low we go or how high we ascend. I am as guilty of judgmentalism as the next person and, like the next person, am quite adept at justifying my mental determinations and measurements.
I have not always tried to live up to the moral Christian upbringing that I received as a child growing up at home and in Sunday lessons at the little church down the road from the home place. No. My life-closet contains its own collection of hanging skeletons.
I have, and it pains and shames me to admit it, planted well-placed knocks and bruises onto others, both figuratively and quite literally. I have intimately known the life of the Prodigal Son and still, in one way or another, after returning to the Grand Estate of the Father, find that my mind has a propensity to wander a bit, albeit not too far from the barn where I’ve chosen to make my bunk in the hay loft.
Over the course of these past several years, I have been working through the difficult process of discovering, uncovering, understanding, and returning to the unadulterated original self that I am. Not only in matters concerning a more historical divine faith, but also in matters related to accepting the inheritance of my own cultural heritage.
These are greatly challenging and integrally related matters that I am no longer able to rationally and intelligently divest from one another. These are matters that have challenged me to deep consideration, demanded personal action, and also accrued divers and sundry consequences that I am more than willing to shoulder the responsibility of.
These matters essentially come down to one matter. It is a matter of recognition and integration, of melding all the known composite matters into their one strong form rather than trying to sift out one particular element deeming it better than all the others. It is, after all, the composite of strokes that paint the picture, not one single brush-stroke.
The conclusion of the matter is this: I can’t figure anything out for anyone else. That is something that every individual must do for themselves. Nor do I believe that figuring anything out for my self, if I honestly ever do, is going to make some tremendous earthquake impact on the world, up close or at large.
Perhaps one here and there may pick up on some crumb they feel is significant; find some signpost that assists them in hewing out their own path toward their own providential destiny. If that happens, or if that has happened, in some slight measure, well, God once used an ass to speak to a man so I have no reason for elation or self-inflation.
It is time to close this chapter and begin outlining and investing in the next one. This post will therefore be the concluding post to these many blog-pages. Oblate Offerings will however remain accessible as long as this electronic host continues as a free turn-out along the electronic highway, or until such that I feel it appropriate to relegate these pages to the historical section of a metal filing cabinet.