“Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?

Their lives often follow a pattern of defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding – by keeping a journal or making art. As Paul Tillich put it, suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were.

The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative. They are not really living for happiness, as it is conventionally defined. They see life as a moral drama and feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal.

This is a philosophy for stumblers. The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. Recognizing her limitations, the stumbler at least has a serious foe to overcome and transcend. The stumbler has an outstretched arm, ready to receive and offer assistance. Her friends are there for deep conversation, comfort and advice.

External ambitions are never satisfied because there’s always something more to achieve. But the stumblers occasionally experience moments of joy. There’s joy in freely chosen obedience to organizations, ideas and people. There’s joy in mutual stumbling. There’s an aesthetic joy we feel when we see morally good action, when we run across someone who is quiet and humble and good, when we see that however old we are, there’s lots to do ahead.

The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be. Unexpectedly, there are transcendent moments of deep tranquility. For most of their lives their inner and outer ambitions are strong and in balance. But eventually, at moments of rare joy, career ambitions pause, the ego rests, the stumbler looks out at a picnic or dinner or a valley and is overwhelmed by a feeling of limitless gratitude, and an acceptance of the fact that life has treated her much better than she deserves.”

Those are the people we want to be….

David Brooks

Jesus stumbled through his life.  He was and is enmeshed in the drama of bringing people to new life both now and in eternity.  He had no money, no plan, accept to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and ultimately he was crucified, but he “stumbled” himself into the resurrection. 

We are  asked one or two times a week by people who meet meet  “How do you raise money?”, “What are your plans for the future?”, “How long did it take you to start your work in San Francisco?” and so on. The truth is we simply “stumble”,  We let the Spirit lead, and where there is need, we try to meet it.  For example we are low on money at the moment, we need socks, so we ordered socks.  Stumbling is caring and working, putting yourself second.

We need to let ourselves “stumble” this Holy Week, and in the weeks to come.  Stumble on the streets and see the faces of people who are homeless, without health care, and little food.  Walk in a restaurant and invite the beggar outside to join you,  or give them some food.  Ask yourself why are not our churches open at night for shelters? and work with them to do that.

Call on  the candidates from the national level  down to the local to accountability on homelessness.  Millions of people in this country are sleeping in the streets, we do not talk about it, we put our blinders on.  We often wonder how many on the social media are suffering from poverty and homelessness and do not share their stories. It would be a blessing if you would.Tell your story.

Palm Sunday always leads to the Passion.  The question is will we stumble into the Passion, and find resurrection on Easter Sunday in our lives as we open our lives to those around us and stumble in to a life of service in the weeks to come?  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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