Are you tired and wary of exhaustive climbing, hustling and working your way to the top? Of striving, clawing with your hands, pushing with your legs, straining your back, feeling the burn in your muscles, inhaling, exhaling, heart racing, blood pumping? And for what purpose do you expend this energy and effort? What do you hope to achieve? Is it all in vain? We all have responsibilities, the majority of which we look upon unfavourably and begrudgingly, resigning ourselves to seeing what has to be done to completion. Few of us get to follow our bliss and call it a vocation, work a dream job and therefore never a day in our life, pursue our curiosities, desires, sense of adventure and receive a paycheck for it. We exist within a system that insists we work, engage tirelessly and earn bucket loads to be worthy of creating a beautiful and fulfilling life.
Ableism begins here with our learned strivings, influenced in both subtle and more significant ways by society. Because of and in spite of these complex structures, institutions and authorities, things exist that we are willing to work hard for, compete for, extend ourselves for as if they’re on the top shelf of a cupboard too tall for us when nobody is home to help and all the chairs and stools have mysteriously gone missing. Through all this, one truth remains firm. Outside of necessary career and financial evils, family, friendship, faith, community, academic respect, sporting achievements, creative projects and hobbies also have to take pride of place. We have mastered the fine art of squeezing things into an impossibly packed schedule, doing our best to satisfy obligations and secure sufficient leisure time.
Jesus once made this statement when speaking to friends and he could just as easily be saying it to you: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Religion can exist outside of the traditional meaning of the word and be more than what initially springs to mind. It’s designed to serve as a ligament, a structural entity that simultaneously moulds, defines and holds shape. It’s a pathway travelled on a consistent metaphoric basis to get to an end destination where your questions of shoulds, coulds, needs and wants are dissected, made sense of, answered and put to rest. However, there are certain confines and universal realities that must be respected and kept to with faith traditions, philosophies and beliefs.
We are not the masters of our universe, never the kings or queens, the rulers. Growing cocky, arrogant and over confident within our meagre contains can only lead to false idolatry. When religion is thought of as entirely encompassing, spanning across all aspects of our lives both faith and non faith based, we may grow weary and feel as if we’ve been led down a dead end road. Our hearts and souls will meet in a consumed, bone tired dance, caught in the middle of a non voluntary deconstruction. The glue, what held us together, formed a complete, no longer delivers us the life of our dreams. There is a reason behind our every action, a way to find healthy motivation, a generous and non illusory reward for hard work. Most importantly, a means to enjoy life even when it’s unfinished, when you’re a work in progress and feel you haven’t achieved much.
The reward is here. It’s you. It’s the service you offer the world, the opportunities you afford yourself and the dreams within your reach. There is no reaching the top, no sacred and high up pinnacle of success that makes all stumbles and roadblocks worthwhile. The reward isn’t a badge of holiness for you to wear boastfully on your chest, a place in the highest ranks of heaven when you pass on, a mansion with Jesus as your next door neighbour. The reward is in the way you carry yourself, your actions, your integrity, your intentions. The love you offer up as freely as if it were on a platter. The way you wear your heart on your sleeve. A willingness to integrate and collaborate and leave others better than you found them. Life is about getting down to the nitty gritty and experiencing everything that you encounter inside out. This is what you will find value in.