There is a calling in life that is spiritual but not religious. It comes from deep within us and from influences outside of us.
It comes from losses and longings, from lessons not yet learned, from lost loves, from emotional hurts we felt but never healed. It comes from thinking we failed our parents, from missing obvious life messages, from disappointing ourselves. It comes from sorry parenting, from unrealistic expectations we accepted, from betrayals received and given. It comes from faulty theology, from the wrong ideas about God, from fears that we are born bad and stay bad. It comes from kids or teens or adults who bullied us, from sexual abuse, from relationship battering, from being belittled in some wounding way or ways.
The call also comes from memories of being loved, from the embrace of grace, from cheerleaders on the sidelines of our life, from the nurture of people who clearly believe we matter to them and to the world. It comes from extraordinary moments, from being thoroughly loved, from the delights of intimacy, from having someone truly knowing us and truly known by us and being okay with one another.
This spiritual call, this inner pull within, wants us to be more open to life. It comes from music that touches something personal within us and identifies a yearning. It comes from books we lose ourselves in and close them changed in some way. It comes from movies that move us to tears, that give us insights we need, that guide us to discoveries we would not find on our own. It comes from relationships that envelop us in tenderness and affection, that instruct us in love, that connect us to deeper parts of who we are.
This I think was the call of the mythical Eden; the call within Adam and Eve. The story is not about their sins but about their wanting to know. And wanting to know is always a dangerous business. Not wanting to know is safe. It keeps us as children dependent and awkward, incapable and incompetent.
What Adam and Eve experienced once their eyes were opened was the incompleteness of their humanness. Their hunger was to know more about who they were and why they were there. And that is the spiritual calling of life. It is always calling us to more awareness, to clearer self-understanding, to the wonder of life, and to the place and places, to the individuals and people, where we are to unfold our better truer selves.
“Fatih,” the wise Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel once said, “is not an insurance, but a constant effort, a constant listening.” Yes. Faith in ourselves, in others, in God, in life—happens when we listen and obey the call within us and outside of us. The call to fulfill our humanity. To deepen and broaden it. To always allow it to take us, when we are ready, to someplace beyond where are now.
© 2014 Timothy Moody