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Fun and Games

So we went to Disney World for a week, which was awesome, with my parents, who are awesome, who have been married 35 years, which is super-awesome, and stopping both ways on the way to stay with my brother-in-law and his family, who are also…what is the word I am looking for…ah yes. Awesome. Four days of driving, six days of walking in the Florida sun (melt), and one unforgettable family vacation.

So here’s my wookiee of the day. And by wookiee I mean Chewie, and by Chewie I mean what I have been chewing on. But you followed that anyway, right? Perhaps it is a bit of the post-vacation downers, the back-to-reality blues, but I’ve been thinking on a deeper level about my life, as in my lifestyle and how it pertains to my faith, and vice versa.

A and I were talking the other night about purpose, and big dreams, and how they look very different these days (when they show up at all) than they did seven years ago – i.e., before we had kids and careers. We both attended a church for several years that encouraged us to think big, and live radically, and expect big things in and through our lives through our faith. Which actually isn’t all that far-fetched, especially if you’ve read much of the Bible at all.

I bought it then in the context of my life and that community, and I think it’s fair to say that in some fashion I’m still sold on this. I remember thinking once we had moved to Ohio and begun looking for a new church community to call home that I had been “ruined” for church since there don’t seem to be many other churches out there that share this bigness of vision, at least not in a balanced and authentic sort of way.

So what is this disconnect? Is it really all fun and games when you’re young and untethered enough for a life of risky faith, and then you grow up, settle down and have kids and have to get on with real life? In a sense maybe so. There are things I was free to do in my youth that are much more difficult for me to consider now – quitting my job, starting a new career, moving halfway across the country, giving away all my money. Yup folks, that was my twenties.

But maybe it’s that the game has changed. Having a career, a house, a family are not bad things to be sure. And I don’t believe that they necessarily prevent you from living a life of dynamic faith. Although that’s not what my life has felt like lately, which of course is what got me started thinking about all this in the first place.

So how do you stay connected to a faith that is alive and life-giving when so much of life seems…not bad, but….routine? Is a life of faith really not about having a significant impact, but something else? If so, what? Being happy? And if not, then is this stage of life a waystation on the journey to significance?

Significance sounds a bit haughty when I use it like that. Like I wanna be somebody, get famous or influential. That’s not what I mean. I used to mean that, I think, or something like it. Influential, maybe, is right. Have a positive impact on as many people as I can. Which is different from being a celebrated author or successful leader. Usually.

So what does this purpose, for lack of a better word, look like? Is it measurable through external means at all?

As in how many people my faith and love affect, or how deeply a person or people is affected by it? Is it aspecific task or event that a person is born for, as with the tiny title character in John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany? (If so, what if you miss it? Or what do you do with the rest of your life if it happens when you’re 33, like with Jesus? OK, don’t answer that one.) Or is it not an event, but perhaps a number of events, or a faith-vocation of sorts? Or on the other hand is it just to live the most loving and faith-filled life as you can, seeking God as much as you can, even if no one particularly seems impressed?

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